Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive Grab Bag: SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE, PARACHUTE JUMPER ""

Monday, October 14, 2013

Warner Archive Grab Bag: SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE, PARACHUTE JUMPER

SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE(1960; Albert Zugsmith)
When you sit down to watch an Albert Zugsmith film, you never really know what you're going to get. You may go into something with a certain idea of what it is, but it may end up not being that thing at all. For instance, I searched for years for a copy of his film COLLEGE CONFIDENTIAL(I finally caught it via a rare airing on TCM). I had seen the movie HIGH SHCOOL CONFIDENTIAL so for whatever reason I was expecting some kind of campy weirdness along those lines. COLLEGE CONFIDENTIAL has camp to it for sure, but it also takes a turn at one point and ends up as kind of a courtroom drama by the end which I never would have expected from the outset. In the case of CONFESSION OF AN OPIUM EATER, I have no idea what I was expecting but that movie is just a nutty acid trip through and through. So of course when I saw Zugsmith had made SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE, my mind immediately turned over on itself trying to imagine what the movie would be like. First off, SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE sounds like one of those "We've got a great title and we've pre-sold it, now go off and make the movie" kind of movies.
Well, I can accurately report that this movie is certainly zany in that 1960s kind of way. I'm talking cartoon zany. Right out of the gate, we open on a scientist's lab with all kinds of flashing lights (AND a robot!) as the groovy "Sexpot Goes to College" theme song blares on the soundtrack. This film also features a monkey with sunglasses and Mamie Van Doren firing two pistols into a crowd of students. Oh and it's got John Carradine! Oh and let me just take a moment to say that there is almost nothing cuter in the known universe than 1960s Tuesday Weld. Soooo adorable!

One strange thing though I thought I'd mention - there's some totally bizarre out-of-left-field nudity towards the end of the film. A lengthy striptease scene with multiple girls, a robot and a monkey. Pretty racey(and WTF) for 1960!




PARACHUTE JUMPER(1933; Alfred E Green)
"Our landlady's so broke she wants to move in with us."
This is one of those 'freewheelin' Vitaphone movies that has some comedy and a darker side too. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. & Frank McHugh are two out of work ex-army pilots so strapped for cash that they have to share a single pair of pants. When Fairbanks brings home a stray(girl-Bette Davis), McHugh is initially not amused, bu soon they become chums(with Fairbanks and Davis getting particularly chummy). Eventually they find themselves caught up in a smuggling ring and other shady dealings.
This is one of my favorite Frank McHugh performances. He's quite funny here and a fantastic second banana to Fairbanks Jr. He should have been given this much stuff to do and fun dialogue to deliver in every film.
Watch for a very young Walter Brennan slinging hash in a diner in an early scene.

No comments: