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Directed by Otto Preminger
USA 1968

 

Otto Preminger (Anatomy of a Murder) directs this psychedelic-comedy classic starring Jackie Gleason as Tough Tony Banks, a retired gangster who reluctantly comes out of retirement to silence his old friend and squealer (Mickey Rooney). Tony’s suburban haven comes crashing down as his daughter (Alexandra Hay) takes up with a hippie (John Phillip Law) and his wife (Carol Channing) gives them permission to move into their house with their hippy friends. The all-star cast includes Batman villains (Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin), with Frankie Avalon, Peter Lawford, George Raft, Slim Pickens, Fred Clark, Richard Kiel, Harry Nilsson and Groucho Marx in his final role as the mob boss names God. Music and lyrics by Nilsson.

***

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.

~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Poster

Television Premiere: March 23rd, 1976 - West Germany

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DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:38:15 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.13 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: July 19th, 2011

Keep Case
Chapters: 8

 

Comments:

Olive Films is expanding their stable of older Paramount releases. Like Hurry Sundown and Such Good Friends this is an Otto Preminger film.  The listing has varied from adventure films like Escape From Zahrain to comedies My Favorite Spy , Where Love Has Gone, Knock on Wood, as well as Noirs Appointment With Danger, William Dieterle's Dark City and Rudolph Mate's Union Station and even science fiction with Crack in the World.

Skidoo is quite awful but has a kitsch appeal with the variety of stars taking part. The late 60's and early 70's created a bit of a void for the proven stars and directors of the more classic, past, period of cinema. There was an evolving energy and carelessness that created a new genre and style of film. Skidoo was caught, as an attempt, in that transition. It may have failed as an experiment but it retains an unusual charisma.    

Like all Olive Film DVDs to date this is dual-layered and progressive. It is anamorphic in the original 2:35:1 aspect ratio. The image quality is not stellar but as a representation of the original - I doubt we will ever see it looking better. Detail and contrast are modest. There is no damage and many colors are surprisingly bright. The transfer gave me a consistent and flaw-free presentation.

The unremarkable audio is mostly dialogue. It's flat but supports the film well enough. There are no subtitles on the region 1 - NTSC DVD.

The film is more likely to appeal to 'buffs' who are keen on the alternative aspects of the production rather than a smooth, coherent, film experience.  I have no strong complaints about the Olive Film transfer although it is not especially remarkable. Purchasers should be forewarned although the film's eclectic reputation is already fairly well known.  

Gary W. Tooze


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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC



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