HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Sergeant Deadhead The Astronut, It Says Here
Year: 1965
Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Frankie Avalon, Deborah Walley, Cesar Romero, Fred Clark, Gale Gordon, Harvey Lembeck, John Ashley, Buster Keaton, Reginald Gardiner, Pat Buttram, Eve Arden, Romo Vincent, Donna Loren, Michael Nader, Edward Faulkner, Norman Grabowski, Dwayne Hickman
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sergeant O.K. Deadhead (Frankie Avalon) does his best, he really does, but he always manages to mess things up. Take today when he has bought a large firework and tries to set it off on the parade ground of the U.S. Air Force base he stays on, only for it to fizzle out. When he moves in closer to examine the fuse, it explodes, covering him with soot and attracting the attention of stern Lieutenant Kinsey (Eve Arden) who admonishes his foolishness and sends him to the guard house to think over his misdemeanours. His fiancée Airman Lucy Turner (Deborah Walley) is most annoyed...

Not one of the most sensible films ever made, Sergeant Deadhead (for some reason his name is spelt differently in the titles with that added space) was an attempt by its studio A.I.P. to cast its Beach Party series regulars in something different now that franchise was winding down, indeed it only had one more entry to go and Avalon was nowhere to be seen in that, having hedged his bets with Vincent Price in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (Skidoo didn't do much for his career either). In spite of the military base setting, looking to have been chosen to remind audiences of then-current services inspired T.V. hits like Gomer Pyle, the sense of humour was just as ridiculous as usual.

And the format was just as similar with its high concept premise - Frankie is shot into space! - and collection of older guest stars filling out the speaking roles, including Buster Keaton in one of his last roles, indulging in some slapstick and not looking entirely out of place, if anything quite energetic. Deadhead's chief nemesis is the head of the base, General Rufus Fogg (Fred Clark) who is the officer who keeps on sending him behind bars (his cellmates who else but Harvey Lembeck and future A-Team producer John Ashley?). Lucy wants to get married, but her beau makes that difficult with his antics, which build to a head one night when he escapes from the jail by using an exploding pen (don't ask).

On the run, Deadhead hides in a nearby space capsule and promptly falls asleep, awakening when the pilot arrives and takes off with ground control unaware their experimental module has an extra passenger. Now, there has been a spot of plot foreshadowing in that Fogg has been discussing how a trip into space can alter personalities, a fact made up for the purposes of the movie as you'll soon see. Anyway, the big joke when the sergeant is in orbit is that his companion is a chimp (not a monkey as the characters insist on calling it) who is more capable than he is, but after fobbing off the public by making "we meant to do that" noises about the stowaway, the craft is brought back down to Earth and we discover they both have indeed evolved different personalities.

The chimp can now speak, a gag which they really should have made more of but is placed in a throwaway scene, and Deadhead is now a hyper-aggressive ladies' man chasing the female recruits around the base and not interested in Lucy anymore. This meant Frankie Avalon plays two roles time again as he also showed up as his exact double, Sergeant Donovan, which could have opened this up to a Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor run of humour, but they preferred to rely on the basic running about method of securing laughs. If they did make you laugh it would very much depend on your tolerance for idiocy because as so often with A.I.P. comedies the level of farce was truly fatuous, but if you were in a welcoming mood there were a few good chuckles here in its courting of stupidity. There were musical numbers too, a couple quite cute though Arden's tone deaf stylings were resistable, but really this was barely a step up from Disney. It might even have been a step down. Music by Les Baxter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2717 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
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: