The Flower Thief & Chumlum
The Flower Thief
was Ron Rice's first film, made in San Francisco, starring Taylor Mead (who like Rice was a vital member of the New American Cinema group formed in the late '50s, early '60s). Dedicated to the extra unknown man (the “wild man”) who was in the old Hollywood days kept on movie studio sets to “cook up” something when all other sources of ideas (by writers and directors) failed, The Flower Thief “has been put together in memory of all dead wild men who died unnoticed in the field of stunt.” -Ron Rice.
Rice deliberately flouted established moviemaking traditions (as Godard did in Breathless), and as Eugene Archer of The New York Times wrote, “produced a major work,” while H.G. Weinberg declared, “The Flower Thief makes Shadows look like a Jerry Wald production.” Gentle and dreamlike, the film moves slowly, set in a no-man's land. Four years later, with only three complete films and one incomplete one, Ron Rice was dead of pneumonia at the age of twenty-nine.