Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Any similarity between Hellzapoppin' and a motion picture is purely coincidental."

Happily, that's certainly true for the first fifteen minutes or so. Thanks to nycopyguy for drawing my attention to this YouTube clip. It's amazing how many film conventions are trampled here in such short order. Brilliant is the only word for it, and I'm firmly among those who believe that the kind of punctuated, semi-narrative lunacy you'll see following the truly berserk opening sequence could have been sustained for an hour and a half with perfectly crowd pleasing results. It doesn't, though, and Hellzapoppin', while it remains extremely funny, ultimately takes the announced idea that "films have to have a love story" all too much to heart (although it rebounds with that wonderful shock ending). Each of Universal's subsequent Olsen and Johnson pictures also have their own standalone sequences of concentrated weirdness, most notable being the inspired opening of Crazy House (1943), but none of it was ever quite this revolutionary.

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