Sunday, February 25, 2018

'60s Trash?: Skidoo (1968)

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na...Preminger!  Today's Film is 1968's Skidoo, a Film by the famous Director Otto Preminger.  He's the man behind many great Films like Anatomy of a Murder, Laura and The Man with the Golden Arm.  To me, however, he will always be Mr. Freeze!  He was the second of 3 Actors to play the Character in the Adam West Batman Show and the reason why Eli Wallach had an accent in Season 2.  While he was up for many Oscars, he apparently never won one- sad.  In the late-60s, however, he dropped Acid and decided to make this Film.  It was apparently a nightmare to get done- due to problems with him, the Script and the Studio- and it definitely needs one of those 'Documentaries About a Film Being Made.'  According to Rob Reiner, he was hired and fired every day he worked on it as a Script Supervisor.  The Plot involves a Mobster, his family and a bunch of Guest Stars in Prison.  This is a virtually who's who of 'They were in this why?!?'  I'll go through it in-depth in the actual Review, but it has a heavy Hollywood and Batman connection.  If you ever wanted to see Jackie Gleason and Groucho Marx in a Film together, this is your only chance.  By all means, drop out and read on...
Gleason is a retired Mobster who is pulled back in by his boss- God.  No, not that one.

The guys sent to bring him in- Caesar Romero (Batman Connection #2) and Frankie Avalon!
He is broken *into* Prison to take out a man with intel on 'God.'  He has to work with...Frank Gorshin (Batman Connection #3), John Phillip Law and Richard Kiel (aka Jaws)?!?
While all of that is happening, his Daughter is becoming a Hippie and the then-63 year old Preminger is all in!  Groovy.
The target in Prison- Mickie Rooney!  They talk to him by wiring something to something and speaking through a TV.  Naturally, the man responds with all of his dialog right to camera!
Wanting to find God? 

I can't help you with that, but here is Groucho Marx (in his last Film Role) playing 'God' and living on John Wayne's Yacht.  No joke- it's actually his (and now an historic landmark).
While writing a letter to his Family, Gleason accidentally takes some LSD.  He has...a bad trip.
He comes to the realization that he doesn't want to kill anymore (too late for his friend!) and plans an escape.

They go with the obvious solution- put LSD in all of the food, so everyone trips.  That includes the Warden- Burgess Meredith (Batman Connection #4)!
Shout out to Slim Pickens as well!  As a bonus, Harry Nilsson plays a Guard and *sings* the Credits.
The day is saved as the duo (without Law) escape Prison and find 'God' at the same time that the Hippies do.  For some reason, they dress like this and sing the Title song during the raid.

How else could something this weird end?
What a weird, weird Film.  When a famous Director drops Acid to help make a Film, what do you expect?  This whole thing is a fun, weird mess.  It has way too many Stars in random, tiny Roles and way too much nonsense.  I didn't even touch upon the Plot involving Carol Channing sort-of seducing Avalon or her taking in a group of Hippies while Gleason is away.  Nothing about this makes all that much sense.  That said, it is a weird joy to behold. Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin and Jackie Gleason 'drop Acid!'  Groucho Marx as a Mob Boss.  People flying in a Hot Air Balloon made out of Potato Bags!  There's a very odd bit with Marx trying to do business with the Lead Hippie.  He calls Gleason's House and says a bunch of nonsense that somehow is a bunch of clues to find 'God.'  I guess the nonsense riddles being important is Batman Connection #5 then!  None of this is great.  None of this is logical.  In spite of all that, I love the hell out of this nonsense!  Carol Channing's outfit here...not so much...
Next time, I finally cover a Cult Classic by a Horror Legend.  Will it be all snake and no rainbow?  Stay tuned... 

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