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Flattened By A Style Meant To be Original, But That Merely Brings Disorder To The Whole.

Author: rsoonsa ( from Mountain Mesa, California
9 September 2008

A somewhat comprehensible beginning to this film is soon obscured by the director's muddled treatment of his own rum script that continues in a consistently capricious mode through to the ending, being essentially a patchwork of character-based sketches, only a few of which will provide a satisfying experience for a viewer. Billie Joyce (Tim Henry) has become one-half owner of the seedy Grand Central Hotel in downtown St. Thomas, Ontario (where the work is filmed), through his recently deceased father's will. Billie, a former "rock musician" who has been lodging within a mental institution due to a penchant for committing aimless acts of violence, and an inability to conform with off-stage standards of behaviour, is not interested in refurbishing his newly acquired property, but rather in selling his portion, because he "needs the money", while an entrepreneur from the United States, Oscar Kidd (Robert Silverman) is willing to purchase the Grand Central. Having apparently convalesced to some degree from his hospital stay, Billie visits the hotel in order to complete the sale to Kidd. The current co-owner, Jim McKeagan (Bob Warner), plainly has a sub rosa agenda of his own, including hidden personal profits, not to be shared with his "partner" Billie, but young Joyce learns that, partly as a result of McKeagan's chicanery, several employees of the Grand Central are counting upon Billie for assistance in retaining their jobs. Turgid outbursts from Billie, in combination with too many patently absurd scenario ingredients, bring about a largely wearisome mishmash, punctuated by scenes of Billie as transvestite gamboling about hotel hallways decked in formal female attire, hair and makeup, and chased by a group of men from a hotel catered stag party. Among those storyline characters who become tangentially involved with silly Billie and his antics, especially during the film's draggy and seemingly rudderless mid-section, are an itinerant low-grade lounge comedian (Les Barker), and Kidd's dipsomaniac wife (Jackie Burroughs). Burroughs, an actress of some established Thespic reputation disrobes, against all principles of good taste, lengthily exposing her cadaverous frame in an ill-chosen and embarrassingly bleak "sex" scene that is totally devoid of any semblance of eroticism. Director Patrick Loubert is well-known for his contributions toward the establishment of a commercially successful Canadian animated film industry, and this low-budget piece, co-scripted by its producer, Don Haig, through its excessive use of montage, bares Loubert's animation pedigree. Unfortunately, his slaughter of cinematic good sense will cause some viewers to be thankful that his creation of feature films ended here. The movie is not much, and wants incisive editing, but it does include an interesting accumulation of footage depicting the actual Grand Central Hotel in St. Thomas, originally opened in 1882 and demolished in 1979. Most of the players perform their largely thankless roles in a creditable fashion. For his first credited appearance, Silverman earns acting honours with a nicely layered turn.

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