Die Laughing

Overview

In this black comedy, a humble cab driver spends his days daydreaming of becoming a rock-star. His blissful reverie is one day interrupted when ends up inadvertently blamed for the assassination of a world-renowned nuclear scientist. Soon afterward he finds that he has a stowaway, the late scientist's chimpanzee, the only one who knows his master's secret formula, which if ever written down could cause the destruction of the world. Now the hapless taxi driver must evade both the cops and two villainous Russian ...
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Overview

In this black comedy, a humble cab driver spends his days daydreaming of becoming a rock-star. His blissful reverie is one day interrupted when ends up inadvertently blamed for the assassination of a world-renowned nuclear scientist. Soon afterward he finds that he has a stowaway, the late scientist's chimpanzee, the only one who knows his master's secret formula, which if ever written down could cause the destruction of the world. Now the hapless taxi driver must evade both the cops and two villainous Russian Spies.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Clearly, Die Laughing was a bit of a vanity project for Robby Benson -- he co-wrote and co-produced the film in addition to starring and writing and performing several songs on its soundtrack. That said, it must go down in history as one of the strangest and most misguided vanity projects ever unleashed by a major studio. The script is a bizarre mix of thriller elements, airheaded political "satire," mushy romance and lowbrow humor (one setpiece involves Benson getting hit in the groin, accidentally shoving his face into a lady's behind and later diving face first into a huge pile of horse manure). It has imagination, to say the least, but it's got no sense of proportion when it comes to blending these elements and a surprising amount of bad taste. Jeff Werner's direction is competent as it can be under the circumstances, bringing a slickness to the story and some nice visuals, but it fights a losing battle against the out-of-control storyline. Die Laughing also has a serious problem in the acting department -- Benson himself. He is capable of turning in fine performances in the proper setting but he's jaw-droppingly bad here, mugging wildly for the camera at every opportunity and creating a character who is such a buffoon that he keeps the audience at a distance. There's also a seriously bizarre performance from Bud Cort as the film's villain but he actually adds a shot of life when the film gets bogged down with his anything-goes improvisational antics. Elsewhere, old pros like Charles Durning and Elsa Lanchester provide solid support but they can't save the misguided goings-on. To sum up, Die Laughing is so far off the mark that it provides some entertainment value in a perverse, unintentional way but the members of the audience likely to take it that way are few and far between. This one is best left to the hardcore Benson fans.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/19/2013
  • UPC: 883316737101
  • Original Release: 1980
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Full Frame
  • Time: 1:47:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 59,264

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robby Benson Pinsky
Linda Grovenor Amy
Charles Durning Arnold
Elsa Lanchester Sophie
Bud Cort Mueller
Rita Taggart Thelma
Marty Zagon Friend
Larry Hankin Bock
Sammuel Krachmalnick Zhukov
Joe Bellan Dispatcher
Morgan Upton Record Judge
Maurice Argent Jewish Man
Christopher Pray Detective
Carel Struycken Gregor the Giant
James Cranna Newscaster
Peter Coyote Davis
Charles Dorsett
John Bracci Lt. Allen
Charles Fleischer Charlie
Rhoda Gemignani Russian Ticket Taker
Technical Credits
Jeff Werner Director
Robby Benson Score Composer, Producer, Screenwriter
Mark Canton Producer
Charles Correll Cinematographer
Roger George Special Effects
Doug von Koss Set Decoration/Design
Donald MacDonald Associate Producer
Nancy McArdle Costumes/Costume Designer
David Myers Cinematographer
Scott Parker Original Story, Screenwriter
Jon Peters Executive Producer
Craig Safan Score Composer
Jerry Segal Score Composer, Screenwriter
James Spencer Production Designer
Neil Travis Editor
David Whorf Asst. Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Die Laughing
1. Chapter 1 [10:00]
2. Chapter 2 [10:00]
3. Chapter 3 [10:00]
4. Chapter 4 [10:00]
5. Chapter 5 [10:00]
6. Chapter 6 [10:00]
7. Chapter 7 [10:00]
8. Chapter 8 [10:00]
9. Chapter 9 [10:00]
10. Chapter 10 [10:00]
11. Chapter 11 [7:31]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Die Laughing
   Play
   Chapters
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