HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Man Who Invented Christmas, The
Tom's Midnight Garden
Lady, Stay Dead
Thieves, The
My Dear Secretary
I Think We're Alone Now
Amazing Colossal Man, The
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael
Suzanne
Nae Pasaran!
Kiss of the Dragon
Other Side of the Wind, The
Secret Santa
Wolcott
10.000 Km
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Hitler's Hollywood
Ghost Goes Gear, The
First Purge, The
House of Wax
Mandy
Climax, The
Justice League Dark
Night Watchmen, The
Bandh Darwaza
She Beast, The
Jane and the Lost City
Raw Deal
Anderson Tapes, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
   
 
  Hellzapoppin Let's Do The Show Right HereBuy this film here.
Year: 1941
Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Ole Olsen, Chic Johnson, Martha Raye, Hugh Herbert, Jane Frazee, Robert Paige, Mischa Auer, Richard Lane, Lewis Howard, Clarence Kolb, Nella Walker, Shemp Howard, Elisha Cook Jr, Frank Darien, Catherine Johnson, Angelo Rossitto, Billy Curtis
Genre: Musical, Comedy
Rating:  9 (from 3 votes)
Review: Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson are having a spot of bother with their new film. First they arrive in a taxi cab in Hell, complete with cackling demons and tortured souls, and do nothing but confuse the issue until the director of the film (Richard Lane) protests loudly. Chic and Ole walk off the set and end up behind the scenes arguing with him about the story, wandering through various scenery until they ask the scriptwriter (Elisha Cook Jr) what's to be done. He begins to talk them through his plans, but the director still isn't happy, and the constant interruptions are not helping, so eventually a compromise is reached and Ole, Chic and the director settle down in front of a moving picture to see what's what. And so the plot begins. Such as it is.

Hellzapoppin, the stage show, was an anarchic revue hosted by Olsen and Johnson that ran for almost one and a half thousand performances from 1938 to 1941, notable for the way the cast would break the fourth wall and mingle with the audience. Obviously they couldn't pull off that trick for the cinema version, but they came pretty close, still breaking the fourth wall and interacting with the projectionist (Shemp Howard) and imaginary people in the theatre instead. Scripted by, no, not Elisha Cook Jr but original writer of the play (and future Addams Family TV sitcom producer) Nat Perrin with Warren Wilson, over the years the film became an influential byword for screen craziness.

And the high spirits are infectious, with many hilarious moments to appreciate. Although they resist it as far as possible, there is a plotline there, one about a love triangle between a theatre entrepreneur, his rich, would-be girlfriend who he doesn't want to marry until he has money to support her, and the man she is supposed to be marrying soon. Like a multitude of films of the time, this was really a basic musical comedy, a "putting on a show" one at that, yet one in which the customary zaniness has apparently run away with everyone concerned.

What this means is that any conventional romantic sequences are sabotaged by the all-pervading irreverence, so when Jeff (Robert Paige) and Kitty (Jane Frazee) get their big romantic musical number, they have to interrupt it to tell audience member Stinky Miller that he has to go home because his mother is calling. The nice thing is that every character is in on the jokes, even when the laugh is on them, no one more so than the reliable Martha Raye as Chic's cousin (?) Betty who gets to do a lot of physical comedy as she is insulted and rejected, most often by the man she pursues: Mischa Auer on fine form as a Russian prince who is a phoney but isn't really.

Starting with the incredible opening in Hell, the energy levels are raised high and seemingly effortlessly sustained throughout, with the gags arriving thick and fast. Not every one is a winner, and there a more than a few corny groaners, but there are many more inspired, surreal flights of fancy making for laugh out loud business. An old man with an ever-growing pot plant wanders in shouting "Mrs Jones!", private detective Hugh Herbert proves himself to be a master of disguise if not a master of magic tricks, Ole and Chic are rendered invisible at one point, and the whole thing ends with the duo trying to sabotage Jeff's play with rollicking effect - watch for the Frankenstein Monster helping Betty back onto the stage by flinging her through the air. Like a live action Tex Avery cartoon, the music is catchy, the dancing can be spectacular and most importantly the jokes are funny. "Oscar!"
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4933 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: