Rupert Pupkin Speaks: M.I.A. on Blu-Ray Vol. 7: WTF?!(Musicals) ""

Monday, February 28, 2011

M.I.A. on Blu-Ray Vol. 7: WTF?!(Musicals)

I first saw the trailer for this film New Beverly Cinema screening being conducted by the venerable duo of Zack Carlson and Lars Nilsen(of the Alamo Drafthouse). It pretty much blew my mind and I spent the next 6 months trying to track down a decent copy so I could see this monstrosity. Finally found an import DVD that wasn't too bad and was quite pleased. In finally seeing this film I must say that, for me, it lived up to my expectations. It comes correct right out of the gate with what is basically a completely unconnected Jermaine Jackson music video. Only gets weirder from there. The oddball cast is led by Pia Zadora, an adolescent Craig Sheffer and Ruth Gordon. Oh and Michael Berryman, always a nice addition. Just a whacked out fantasy beyond belief. Needs to be seen. And on Blu-Ray. Now.

HELLO DOWN THERE(1969; Jack Arnold/Ricou Browning)
When I was pretty young I recall reading a book about underwater homes. It was set up to be a wave of the future type of thing and the book(little to my knowledge then was probably written in the 1960s) seemed to indicate that we would all soon be living underwater. It was a really neat book for me(I wish I could recall the title) and really captured my imagination. I daresay it was an early influence on my decision to want to be a marine biologist(this idea got me through my second year of college where I switched to film studies). Anyway, there are those films that are really just of their time and place and viewed outside that context(or even IN that context) are just odd to say the least. HELLO DOWN THERE is one of those films. The film focuses on the test run of an underwater dwelling called 'The Green Onion" which Randall's character designed. Hard to believe it was directed by Jack Arnold, he of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON fame(among many others). This film does come at the end of a long line of comedies (musical and otherwise) for him which effectively began with the 'comedy'(and camp classic) HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL in 1958. He did a few Bob Hope comedies along the way(BACHELOR IN PARADISE in 1961 & A GLOBAL AFFAIR in 1964) and a youth car racing 'drama' called THE LIVELY SET a few years prior to HELLO DOWN THERE. It seems to be grasping desperately for a youthful audience, so I am very curious just how well it connected upon it's first release. For now, it stands as a unique piece of cinematic fromage unlike too many I've seen. The cast alone is enough to draw me in. Between a rocking Richard Dreyfuss, a domestic Janet Leigh & Tony Randall and a blustering Jim Backus, you're pretty set. Roddy McDowall pops up as a record exec. Charlotte Rae & Arnold Stang are thrown in for extra flavor. Add 2 dolphins & some hilariously silly(and awkward) musical numbers and there you have it. Features an an opening sequence that feels equal parts INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET & JABBERJAW. Was reissued under the title SUB A DUB DUB. The Paramount DVD has dropped out of print and the film is no longer available on Netflix, which is unfortunate as it is pretty unique. Begs to be seen with a crowd and I would certainly attend any screening that ever came to pass. A Blu-Ray seems beyond unlikely, but I would still buy one for sure.

A film truly defining of the words 'head scratcher'. Plot summary(from IMDB): "Mesmerist Jonathan Sage escapes Nazi Germany via a cryogenic tube. In the 1980s, a group of Fascist Americans thaw him out, hoping to use him as a way to rid their community of homosexuals, free-thinkers, and other "radicals." The story is interspersed with many rock dance numbers."
Sound weird? Yeah well you have no idea. This one is nearly incomprehensible, but I must say memorable in some way. Directed, co-written and starring actor Ulli Lommel this has to have been some kind of vanity piece or something. I can hardly describe so see a few clips below:

THE APPLE(1980; Menahem Golan)
Much has been written on this one, so I'll just say it certainly has the following to warrant a Blu-Ray release. Another that is truly one of a kind to say the least. Nice essay on it by Witney Seibold here. Currently still on Netflix Instant. If you've missed it thusfar, you should consider correcting that.


MrJeffery said...

my ex was obsessed with pia zadora. out of all her films, 'voyage' was the def. the most watchable. some fun songs. we rented that tape a lot.

deadlydolls said...

I get angry at anyone who dares to utter the words "The Apple" because I know I will be singing the Bim song for the next nine months of my life. Grrrrrr

Franco Macabro said...

I need to see The Apple! Thanks for reminding me!

Rupert Pupkin said...

MRJ-Yeah VOYAGE is a lot more fun than say LONELY LADY.

EMILY-apologies! I need to watch the film a few more times to get the songs in my head. I do look forward to that!

FC-You are welcome, I think. Hopefully you don't regret seeing it!