A preview of our coming attraction,...
1968 - Paramount Pictures - D: Otto Preminger S: Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Alexandra Hay, Groucho Marx, Frankie Avalon, Fred Clark, Michael Constantine, Frank Gorshin, John Phillip Law, Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith, George Raft, Caesar Romero, Mickey Rooney, Arnold Stang, Slim Pickens, Richard Kiel, Harry Nilsson.
Now here's something completely different. And by different, I mean different compared to,... well, just about anything I've ever seen. Long left stashed in the Paramount vaults and only wondered about by those who missed it in its initial run, this is Otto Preminger's misguided attempt at one of those "generation gap" films that were becoming more and more prevalent around 1968. The plot is comedic mash-up of hippiesploitation and a gangster movie. Jackie Gleason is a retired mobster living a legit life with his wife (Carol Channing) and their hippie daughter. One day, a mob boss (named "God" and played by Groucho Marx!) sends a couple of guys over to pull Jackie out of retirement for one last hit on a snitch (played by Mickey Rooney). Resistant at first, he eventually relents and gets put in the same prison as Mickey so he can do the hit. But before that can happen, someone slips "the Great One" some LSD, Gleason trips balls, and his whole worldview is blown away. In a sense, it almost becomes a PRO-drug movie if you can believe it! While he's in the slammer, his house becomes a playground for his daughter's hippie friends, and eventually Carol Channing, dressed in full pirate regalia leads the kids in a siege of God's boat. Oh, and did I mention there's musical numbers? Or that it was endorsed by Timothy Leary? Yeah, this is one strange piece of celluloid - worth watching for its jaw-dropping absurdity, the parade of famous Hollywood actors who somehow signed on for this, and its time-capsule quality, but mostly because the scene where Jackie Gleason trips in his prison cell is positively epic.
And now, our feature presentation!