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Skidoo
     

Skidoo

Director: Otto Preminger, Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Frankie Avalon

Cast: Otto Preminger, Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Frankie Avalon

 

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Producer and director Otto Preminger reportedly experimented with LSD in the late 60's, which inspired him to make this notorious comedy in which Jackie Gleason plays Tony, a mid-level gangster and former hired killer not very happy with his life. He bickers a lot with his wife Flo (Carol Channing) and isn't sure what to make of his daughter Darlene (Alexandra Hay),

Overview

Producer and director Otto Preminger reportedly experimented with LSD in the late 60's, which inspired him to make this notorious comedy in which Jackie Gleason plays Tony, a mid-level gangster and former hired killer not very happy with his life. He bickers a lot with his wife Flo (Carol Channing) and isn't sure what to make of his daughter Darlene (Alexandra Hay), especially since she started dating a hippie named Stash (John Phillip Law). Two of Tony's superiors, Angie (Frankie Avalon) and Hechy (Cesar Romero), order him to get arrested, go to prison and once behind bars whack "Blue Chips" Packard (Mickey Rooney). Though he's not pleased with the idea, Tony grudgingly goes along, but once inside, he's accidentally dosed with LSD by counterculture activist the Professor (Austin Pendleton). His consciousness expanded by his trip, Tony leaves his violent lifestyle behind him and with the Professor's help plans an escape after turning the entire prison population on to acid. Certainly your only opportunity to see Groucho Marx play a character named "God," not to mention a supporting cast that includes Slim Pickens, Peter Lawford, George Raft, Frank Gorshin and Arnold Stang, Skidoo is also remembered as the film in which Harry Nilsson sang all the credits.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
One of the most legendary of all Hollywood fiascos, Skidoo witnessed Otto Preminger and most of his cast delving headfirst into psychedelic absurdity. The film predated Easy Rider and Bob & Carol by a year, rising like a festering wound out of the period when Tinseltown studios were making desperate and embarrassing attempts to connect - in any way possible - with the throes of the then-burgeoning counterculture. Unfortunately - unlike the same year's wonderful I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (yet another picture about squares who decide to drop out) - this loony and misguided, acid-fueled gangster farce never finds its footing. That said, it doesn't begin as a complete disaster, but forks off into left field about halfway through. The curtain rises on a conventional and surprisingly genial note - in the first act, Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing and Frankie Avalon seem to be delivering the kind of characterizations and dialogue more at home in a Disney farce - but once Gleason gets imprisoned and accidentally ingests LSD, beware; the film makes a beeline toward supreme audience irritation and never lets up. Preminger seems to be equating nonsensical mishmash and illogic with "hipness"; this may be the only picture in memory to feature a "Dance of the Garbage Cans" musical number, a deus ex machina in which three prisoners escape by building a hot air balloon with materials found inside of a penitentiary, and a finale in which two romantically (and physically) involved couples swap partners and marry at the drop of a hat, just, apparently, for the sake of confounding the logical fabric of the script and being weird. Much has been made of the bizarre fact that Harry Nilsson sings the final credits (yes, right down to the "Copyright MCMLXVIII,") but that represents the very least of the film's problems. Frankly, the picture isn't funny, or for that matter, entertaining either - not even for aficionados of terrible cinema. The most depressing sidelight is that the studios' attempts to connect with the youth movement continued for several years after Skidoo, and quickly sank even lower. Hollywood didn't really figure out a way to squeeze psychedelic extremities like the ones seen here into a mainstream picture until the brilliant psychodrama End of the Road hit cinemas in 1970. But by that time, the counterculture was already at death's door.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/19/2011
UPC:
0887090026604
Original Release:
1968
Source:
Olive Films
Region Code:
1
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:38:00
Sales rank:
12,807

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jackie Gleason Tony Banks
Carol Channing Flo Banks
Frankie Avalon Angie
Fred Clark Guard
Michael Constantine Leech
Frank Gorshin The Man
John Phillip Law Stash
Peter Lawford Senator
Burgess Meredith Warden
Austin Pendleton The Prof. (Fred)
Cesar Romero Hechy
Mickey Rooney Packard
Groucho Marx "God"
Alexandra Hay Darlene Banks
Luna "God's" Mistress
Doro Merande Mayor
Phil Arnold Mayor's Husband
Slim Pickens Switchboard Operator
Robert Donner Switchboard Operator
Richard Kiel Beany
Tom Law Geronimo
Jaik Rosenstein "Eggs" Benedict
Stacy King Actor
Renny Roker Actor
Roman Gabriel Prison Guard
Stone Country Themselves
William Cannon Convict
Arnold Stang Harry
Harry Nilsson Tower Guard
George Raft Capt. Garbaldo

Technical Credits
Otto Preminger Director,Producer
Glenn Anderson Sound/Sound Designer
Elliott Baker Screenwriter
Doran William Cannon Screenwriter
Rudi Gernreich Costumes/Costume Designer
Tom Hansen Choreography
Franklin E. Milton Sound/Sound Designer
Harry Nilsson Score Composer,Songwriter
Webb Overlander Makeup
Fred R. Price Set Decoration/Design
George Rohrs Editor
Stanley Ralph Ross Screenwriter
Leon Shamroy Cinematographer
Robert Emmet Smith Art Director
Charles Spurgeon Special Effects
Erich Von Stroheim Asst. Director
George Aliceson Tipton Musical Direction/Supervision

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Skidoo
1. Opening [:11]
2. Mission From God [:07]
3. The Switch [9:20]
4. The Plan [13:18]
5. The Trip [19:56]
6. Meeting God [8:42]
7. Fully Baked [7:58]
8. To The Rescue [14:39]

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