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Shot in just a week and looking more like it was shot out of a cannon, "Let's Go Crazy" works no better now than it did when it first came out. At least you get to sample the nightclub scene in Brighton circa 1951 and see Peter Sellers in his first starring role.
Cobbled together from some spare time left over from another movie Sellers was featured in, "Let's Go Crazy" is not a story but a revue. Set in an unnamed nightclub and restaurant, Sellers provides interstitial comedy bits in-between song-and-dance performers who worked the seaside English resort town of Brighton, where both this and that other movie, "Penny Points To Paradise," were shot.
Sellers fans do have reason to see this movie. He's only a featured player in "Penny Points" but gets more of the spotlight here. Pity the comedy is so weak. His first scene has him playing Giuseppe, the head waiter, trying to convince a patron to have the spaghetti.
"Cut off me legs and call my shorty!" Guiseppi whines when the guy insists on boiled beef and carrots.
The joke is when the patron finally agrees after a long song and dance, Giuseppe tells him the spaghetti is off, but they do have another dish: Boiled beef and carrots.
It gets little better. Asked if she has a reservation, another character Sellers plays in drag responds: "What do you think I am, a red Indian?" Doing a poor Groucho Marx impersonation, he asks a waiter played by Spike Milligan if he serves crabs. When Spike says yes, Groucho hands him a dead crab and says: "Then serve my friend, he hasn't eaten in three weeks!"
Sellers and Milligan were not yet Goons when this movie was first screened; it was released in May, 1951, the same month as "Penny Points" (probably on a double bill) and also the same month the Goon Show made its inauspicious debut as "Crazy People," which remained the troupe's name for its first two seasons. Perhaps that's the reason for this film's title, though it's missing the two other "Crazy People" cast members, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine.
Instead of Secombe singing, you get a number of local performers who pad out most of the show. Bizarre is a kind way to describe them; their talent is either minimal or done poor justice by the flat style of director Alan Cullimore. Only a singer, Betty Ankers, ekes out a couple of engaging numbers; the rest are at best dull and at times, rather annoying.
Sellers plays five roles here. One, a milquetoast character named Cedric, is fun to watch for the two minutes you get with him, impressing a date with his bad French, but like the other parts he's an underwritten character. Clearly these were just improvised off-camera and then put on as soon as something vaguely amusing was developed.
Sellers was a comedy genius, but these were early days for him and his talent was never improvisatory. Goon fans seeking Milligan's crafty surrealism will be disappointed by the goofy faces and patter he puts on here in lieu of anything better. "Let's Go Crazy" is a milestone of sorts for Sellers fans, but a more honest title would be "Let's Go Splat."
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