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Skidoo! At Last!


ChipHeartsMovies
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The wonderfully awful "Skidoo!" is on TCM this week!!! This 1968 Otto Preminger movie is one of the weirdest, most delightfully terrible movies ever made. It stars Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing (who sings!), Mickey Rooney, Groucho Marx (playing a mobster named "God"), Frankie Avalon, Peter Lawford, George Raft, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, and more. It airs this Saturday 1/5 at 1 AM EST.

 

I won't go into the plot, which involves a mob hit, acid, and a few things you can't make out. Who cares?

 

This laugh-out-loud gem has never been released legally on video or DVD (although I treasure my bootleg more than any other in my collection, right up there with "Cobra Woman"). Film Forum in NYC ran a single screening a few years back when they did a full Preminger retrospective of all of his films (it sold out immediately --- this movie is legendarily bad); there is a Preminger festival right now at the same theatre, scheduled in conjunction with a new book release on his career, and they declined to book it.

 

This is a real rarity --- fans of good Bad movies, don't miss it. And Preminger fans --- don't miss it either, but don't think you're getting another "Laura" or "The Moon is Blue!"

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*sigh* "The Terminator." Why?

 

I won't complain since it's the same network that I'm watching Joan Blondell & James Cagney's film debuts on as I type this, but..."The Terminator."

 

And BTW, the original trailer for "Skidoo!" features Timothy Leary and Sammy Davis Jr. telling the audience to "turn on the older generation" by taking them to "Skidoo!" Then Groucho appears and says the script made him laugh his head off, so if you see someone without a head, it's him.

 

And Carol Channing performs one of her musical numbers dressed as a sexy pirate.

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I haven't seen this since its release, but who could forget this mess? Faux-hippies, phony freakouts. A smarmy Hollywood adult's idea of what the kids might consider groovy. Ewww. It's a shame that SKIDOO is darling Groucho Marx's last film. He's the one my friends and I went to the theatre to see.

 

I recall that around this time Jackie Gleason was condemning bad taste in popular culture, holding decency rallies and calling for wholesome entertainment. Then he stars in this vulgar trash! Oh, the adult hypocrisy. How we loved to find it everywhere. SPOILER ALERT! There's a scene where the supposedly nude Donyale Luna was exiting a room after a tryst. She's wearing pasted or taped-on pieces of underpants that were some neon color (lime green?) so that the cameraman or editor or somebody would be alerted to cut at the right moment. But the shot was left in the movie! There she was, wearing cut-up panties covering only the naughtiest bits--as if everyone wore their panties like this! My friends and I couldn't stop giggling, later would jokingly refer to "gleasons". "Be a decent good girl! Always wear your gleasons in bed!" Is this visual blooper still in the movie?? It took me years to learn to respect the very gifted Jackie Gleason (not to mention Otto Preminger) again.

 

At the time I thought I was watching wonderful Margaret Hamilton as the mayor, but it was the great Doro Merande. She was the voice of authority. I recall liking her and nerdy Austin Pendleton and Nilsson. And Carol Channing! Who knows what she was thinking, but she was certainly more entertaining than the silly, wooden young people. I feel bad for them as well. No one in this movie could possibly have deserved this. Now I'm hoping this isn't as awful as I remember.

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cascabel, you saw this in the theatre originally? WOW.

 

It is both far better and far worse than you remember, I'm sure. You're right, it is a perfect example of clueless corporate people deciding what the "kids" would love. Jackie Gleason, George Raft, Groucho, Carol Channing, Mickey Rooney --- THESE are the stars they put into a drug-culture film in 1968 to appeal to the Flower Generation!

 

TCMers --- this is a terrible movie, but really funny because of that (like *Valley of the Dolls,* for instance, but far messier and involving a lot more stars). And it is GENUINELY a rarity.

 

PS: Harry Nilsson SINGS the entire closing credits as the movie ends.

 

Message was edited by: ChipHeartsMovies

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LOL, is it one of those Sixties movies with a party scene with the pulsating colored lights and the "flashing" camera shots? (I don't know what that's called, I hope y'all know what I mean-the aggravating shots where the scenes kind of flash, like they're trying to make it look like psychedelic night at the Fillmore or something)

 

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daddysprimadonna --- *Skidoo* takes those shots to the extreme.

 

Plus, sexy highly automated 60's bachelor pads...and *CAROL CHANNING AS A SEXY PIRATE SINGS THE FINALE*, before ripping off her pirate wig and bedding Jackie Gleason.

 

PS: Assistant director: Erich von Stroheim, Junior. Produced and directed by Otto Preminger. End credits SUNG by Harry Nilsson.

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Yes, you have to see it. I, too, treasure my copy of this film and my *Skidoo!* one-sheet has an honored place in my collection.

 

It is not a bad movie. It is, ummm, a different movie. If you want a bad Preminger movie, see Rosebud.

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bad news - I'm sorry to say that it won't be in letterbox; we tried and we thought we'd be able to get a letterboxed version, and based on the initial cost estimates we were willing to pay to create a letterbox transfer, but the cost ended up being several times that amount and we couldn't do it

 

from what I understand, the picture quality itself is good but it won't be letterboxed

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Question: I know nothing about this movie but ...Is it safe to say if one hated "Tommy" with every ounce of their being (which I did) they would not like Skidoo? Keeping in mind that I love Underground movies but the Tommy kind is not my cup of tea at all.

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Phelps ---

 

I'm not a fan of "Tommy," either. While I can't say I hated "Tommy" with every ounce of my being --- when you throw sex goddesses Ann-Margret and Tina Turner into the mix, as they did in "Tommy," I perk up, and even someone as gay as I am has to seriously reconsider when Ann & Tina hit the screen. But I agree with you, "Tommy" is NOT a movie I care for.

 

"Skidoo!" --- it's definitely not "Tommy." Viewed through today's eyes, it's more "Valley of the Dolls" or "Showgirls."

 

I don't think ANYONE will say they LIKE "Skidoo!" But there has never been another movie like it, and it has been locked away from public view, for the most part, for decades.

 

It is insane. Just watch it -- even if you hate it, this is a genuine rarity, directed by Preminger, with real stars --- TCM should have made a big deal about showing it. No matter what, it definitely isn't like "Tommy." It's not like anything.

 

If it isn't your cup of tea, at least I hope you are as turned on by Sexy Pirate Carol Channing as I was by Acid Queen Tina Turner in "Tommy," the rest of the movie notwithstanding.

 

Happy New Year!

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I cannot wait to see this!

It almost sounds worth staying up till 2:00am for.

Is this the Otto Preminger equivalent to "Myra Breckinridge"?

I'm glad TCM recognizes that there's a place for off-the-wall "so bad it's good" gems like this.

The film following "Skidoo" sounds like a campy treasure, too.

What a night!

God Bless the TCM Programmer.

Give that individual a raise.

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Skidoo, which was shown as a goof at my college in the early '80s, (with lots of backtalk from the audience to the screen and popcorn tossing toward the projected actors), seems to have been part of a truly awful period in director Otto Preminger's cynical late career, which produced the hollow, or shallow and just plain vulgar and prurient Rosebud and Such Good Friends, along with this movie, all of which seem to me to be absolute trash.

 

I was wondering if anyone has read the new Preminger biography by Foster Hirsch, called "Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King". Does Hirsch write about what happened to Preminger's sensibility? Did he just get tired and corrupt or what?

 

Has anyone seen The Human Factor (1979), Preminger's last film, an adaptation of Graham Greene's novel which seems to have been an attempt to return--however briefly--to the director's "classical" form of storytelling, blending themes of alienation, suspicion, and class, racial and sexual tension. That film, if memory serves, was not helped one iota by the casting of Nicol Williamson in the lead, but I do remember being intrigued by the storyline and the muted way in which it all unraveled.

 

Thanks to anyone who can offer some insight into this interesting director's apparent disintegration.

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From what I read, the movie missed the mark with both critics and audiences, and bombed at the box-office. A soundtrack album by Nilsson was issued, along with a single, "I Will Take You There," but neither became a hit. The movie received some belated attention in the 1980s when it was shown on cable television, and the soundtrack was lauded when it was reissued on compact disc in 2000 (in the UK) and 2003 (in the US). Nonetheless, no official home video release has ever been made, and the movie is presumed locked away in the Preminger archives, as was Bunny Lake Is Missing for several years. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City periodically exhibits a 35mm print of the movie, and it was also shown in Los Angeles in 2007.

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Regardless of its less than stellar reputation, I've been wanting to see this for years and just missed it in Los Angeles on the big screen last summer. :( To say I was elated to find it on the TCM sched. is an understatement, but my enthusiasm turned out to be short lived since they showed it pan and scanned. Considering it's only been screened twice in its original 2:35 aspect ratio theatrically the past ten years, I am debating watching this truncated version on my DVR.

 

I wish I knew why it was so difficult a film to see and who has the rights for a possible DVD release someday. It's too easy to say as a train wreck it's unreleasable because plenty of butt-wiped movies have made their way onto home video over the years.

 

Is there anyone at TCM reading these boards who might be able to shed some light on a potential future screening in letterboxed format? I'll gladly wait for the widescreen version if there's even a hint of it on the horizon.

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I guess I was so pleased it wasn't even remotely close to Tommy that I sort of enjoyed it. Then again, I do have a strange fondness for Underground movies. Although almost always it is the horror or sci-fi genre that I enjoy occasionally I like other "bad" movies too. For example, I loved the movie Suburbia which played last month. I am hoping they will play it again soon. Maybe Kim Punkrock can pull some strings??...LOL

Don't get me wrong, Skidoo was by no means a movie I would watch again & Carol Channing's in her underwear is more than anyone can stomach once....much less twice in a lifetime. I still enjoyed seeing Jackie Gleason on acid. I laughed pretty hard. It is sort of like a car wreck..you know you shouldn't look but you can't take your eyes off it...LOL

I think the very fact that the movie is rarely available for viewing makes it all the more interesting. Anyway, it is over. I watched it, enjoyed it mildly and I have it recorded . I don't guess I will tape over it since it is such a rare find.

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I warned you, "Skidoo!" is excruciating in many ways.

 

Heehee. Most ways.

 

I LOVE the classic bad movies ("Valley of the Dolls," et.al.), which admittedly many people don't care for. Although I think we can all agree we adore Carol Channing as a Sexy Pirate.

 

What really excited me about TCM showing "Skidoo!," though, is that the network really pulled a genuine rarity out of the box for TCM Underground, as they did previously with "Homicidal." Boy, do I have some suggestions for them: Mickey Rooney in "B.J. Lang Presents," for starters.

 

I hope TCM's next later-Preminger years movie is "Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon" (starring Liza Minnelli) --- it's not as LOL as "Skidoo!," but it's another real rarity.

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There was a screening here in Chicago of SKIDOO a couple of months ago with Foster Hirsch the author of the Preminger autobiography introducing the film and q and a afterwards. Apparently Premingers widow wants all surviving prints destroyed, The print we saw in Chicago was the only known surviving print which was flown in from BFI. Premingers widow also pleaded not to show the film in the current Preminger retrospective in New York as she lives there and would be offended.

Weird eh?

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