The Trip (1967) is a cult film released by American International Pictures, directed by Roger Corman, written by Jack Nicholson, and shot on location in and around Los Angeles, including on top of Kirkwood in Laurel Canyon, Hollywood Hills, and near Big Sur, California in 1966.Peter Fonda stars as a young television commercial director, Paul Groves.
In this drama, Paul Groves (Peter Fonda) takes his first dose of LSD while experiencing the heartbreak and ambivalence of divorce from his beautiful but adulterous wife, played by Susan Strasberg. He starts his trip with a "guide," John (Bruce Dern), but runs away and abandons out of fear.
As Paul experiences his trip, he wanders around the Sunset Strip, into nightclubs, and the homes of strangers and acquaintances. He considers the roles played by commercialism, sex, the role of women in his life. He meets a young woman, Glenn (Salli Sachse), who is interested in people who take LSD. Having learned from Paul recently that he would be taking LSD, she has been looking out for him.
Glenn drives Paul to a beach house, where they have passionate intercourse. As the sun rises, Paul steps out to the balcony to get some air. Glenn asks him whether his first LSD experience was constructive. Paul defers his answer to "tomorrow." His face is frozen in close-up, and his image cracks like glass through an animation special effect.
The Trip also features Dennis Hopper as Groves' dealer Max, who appears here with Fonda in a precursor role to Easy Rider (1969). Contrary to their characters in Easy Rider, though—and for obvious reasons—Fonda's Paul Groves acts paranoid and anxious in The Trip, while Hopper's Max appears calm and collected.
Corman wildly edited some scenes for The Trip, particularly the exterior night scenes on theSunset Strip, to simulate the LSD user's racing mind. The Trip features photographic effects, body paint on seminude actresses to lend atmosphere, and colorful patterned lighting, during sex scenes and in a club, which imitates LSD-induced hallucinations. Finally, Corman included inscrutable fantasy sequences including one where Fonda is faced with revolving pictures ofChe Guevara, Sophia Loren and Khalil Gibran in a wildly lit room. For no apparent reason, a midget riding a merry-go-round in the background blurts "Bay of Pigs!!" The story plays over a musical backdrop of improvisational jazz, blues rock of the band The Electric Flag, plus an exotic musical score with an organ and horn-drenched theme.
Jack Nicholson wrote the original screenplay. Corman encouraged Nicholson's experimental writing style and gives between 80 and 90 percent credit to Nicholson for the shooting script in the director's commentary appearing on the DVD of this film. Corman slightly modified the story to stay within budget.