“Plenty of heads turn when a group of transvestite bikers wheel their way to Los Angeles,” says the IMDB description. HUH? How could I never have heard of such a movie?
Wikipedia gives a slightly more in-depth explanation:
“Pink Angels (or, The Pink Angels) is a 1972 outlaw biker movie. It is a comedy about gay bikers who head to Los Angeles to attend a drag ball. The movie stars John Alderman, Tom Basham, Bob Bihiller, Bruce Kimbal, Henry Olek, and Maurice Warfield as the bikers. The 81-minute movie was directed by Larry G. Brown. The screenplay was written by Margaret McPherson. Dan Haggerty of Grizzly Adams fame plays a straight biker.” – Wikipedia
So, um, it’s Easy Rider meets To Wong Foo? Count me in!
From a 2009 LJMS review:
Very little has been written about The Pink Angels (Lawrence Brown, 1971), mostly due to its limited distribution. Thanks to a release on the Drive-In Cult Classics: Volume 3 DVD box set, fans can now discover a film that has been relegated to a footnote in studies of the bikesploitation film genre. The Pink Angels is an example of the outlaw biker film’s decent into parody and crosspollination with other genres, in this case “gaysploitation.”
Watching The Pink Angels is a confounding experience, as the film continually thwarts its own themes and ideology. While some scenes contain a stark and minimalist realism, other scenes revel in lowbrow humor and blatant stereotypes. This makes it a particularly difficult text to master, since it contains contradictory information throughout.
The Pink Angels has [little] understanding of homosexuality or transgender issues. The biker genre was well established by 1971. However, openly gay characters were only beginning to emerge from the cinematic shadows. Perhaps because of the novelty of gay and cross-dressing characters, the film confuses gender and sexuality into a truly baffling mess. The most perplexing moment occurs during the party between the two biker gangs. One of the Angels goes to get several local prostitutes that they had met earlier in the film. Upon returning, some of the “gay” bikers engage in fornication with these ladies. The film does not attempt to reconcile this interaction, leaving audiences to ponder what to make of their sexuality.
It is unfortunate that The Pink Angels has received so little critical analysis, because its beguiling nature is the reason that the film is of interest. Trash cinema often treads that thin line between eccentric style and inept malfunction and much of the genre criticism is devoted to delineating that distinction. A film like The Pink Angels is illuminating because of its muddled presentation of gay bikers and its cinematic aesthetic. Sometimes the only conclusion is that a film can be simultaneously inspired and terrible.
And, if you still aren’t sold, here’s on last review (from YouTube)
Resistance is Futile: You Must Surrender to the Pink! … Fabulous, good-natured farce involving overly soft-boiled, side-hacking gay bikers on the perilous road to nowhere. Along their merry way, these colorful hog-riding miscreants are menaced by pigs (the non-porcine variety), rival bikers and a totally deranged military type; whoa dude, just like in real life. Ever so limply peter’s out as its running time dwindles, though it has an outrageously hard-hitting climax that would be considered shocking, if it weren’t so flamboyantly absurd. Nice tunes, cheerful performances all-round and super-cool early ’70’s real-film lensing by Michael (“Pushing Up Daisies) Neyman. Look closely and keep a keenly pink-eye out for cult luminary Pataki, whose Richard Burton impression in Corarito’s “Carnal Madness” is to die for. Somewhat tamer than generally expected for Drive-In fodder of this ilk but this is still the sweet n’ sticky stuff of John Waters’ wet dreams; at least one of the dreams that slipped away… “When I Find Those Cupcakes … They Die!” …