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Ex-gangster Tony Banks is called out of retirement by mob kingpin God to carry out a hit on fellow mobster "Blue Chips" Packard. When Banks demurs, God kidnaps his daughter Darlene on his luxury yacht. Written by
Alex Barylski <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The results of our anti-ugliness drive were less than satisfactory.
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The film begins with a cartoon figure in striped prison clothing dancing across the film's title and Otto Preminger's credit on the main characters' TV set. The channel is switched by Jackie Gleason before any other names are revealed. See more »
After years of hearing about this, I finally tracked down a pirate cassette of this unbelievable film. Oh My God, any fan of bad movies must see this for the thrill of a lifetime!
This is the film that dares to ask the question, `what happens when a director of bloated epic dramas tries his hand at screwball comedy?' Now ask what happens when he and most Hollywood are desperate to get `with it', and you'll be approaching the bizarre truth of `Skidoo'. If you thought Otto Preminger couldn't get any worse then `Hurry Sundown', this will prove you quite wrong.
I'm tempted to compare this film with late 60's wrecks like `Casino Royale', but it's really in a different league. Its more like a big budget "Love American Style" episode or a middle-aged embarrassment like `The Mother's In-Law'. Perhaps there was once a scenario lurking at the bottom of all this, or someone had a screenplay and it blew away. Either way, the whole thing appears to have been edited with a lawn mower.
But incoherent structure is only part of this remarkable cinematic experience, it also contains the wackiest cast of middle-aged actors ever, all of whom should have known better. Beyond embarrassing for all concerned, which is why it's so great to watch. Everyone on screen just looks confused, as if Otto's only direction to them was `act crazy now'. Burgess Meredith chews at his small part like bubble gum, even out doing himself in `Hurry Sundown' or 'Such Good Friends'. Carol Channing is the real mind blower here! I thought I would die when I saw her groovy striptease, but then I saw the film's climax where she leads a hippie flotilla in a freaked out royal navy uniform as they board Grocho's yacht while Carol sings the ridiculous theme song. Your life as a film fan is incomplete until you've watched this scene and played it back to make sure you really saw it. Jakie Gleason's acid freak out is even better than Vincent Price's in `The Tingler'.
This film had a big budget but from the jailhouse freak out scene, it's pretty clear that no one working on this acid movie had any idea what tripping was like. Imagine Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith and Slim Pickens all acting kooky and pretending to freak out. It all ends with Grocho in his last film getting stoned with Austin Pendlton in his first film as drift away in a lifeboat with a tie-dye sail. Then Otto Preminger announces the film is over as Harry Nelson sings the entire credits!
What could they have been thinking? This has got to be one of the biggest missteps in Hollywood history. The film seems to have barely been released. I've only read one contemporary review of it, and that one describes Carol Channing as `a walking sight gag'. It seems that everyone involved with this film sobered up and decided to quietly bury the evidence. Even today, few bad movie fans know of `Skidoo', since it is not shown on TV and has never been released on video. Reportedly, Preminger's daughter controls the negative and is sitting on it to protect here father's reputation. I found a copy of the film's soundtrack album in a thrift store a few years back, and it too is a dusey. Once you've heard Ms. Channing scream `Skidoo, skidoo, do what ya wanna do' over & over again, you may never been the same. Seek out `Skidoo', it smells like pumpkins!
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