Monday, March 24, 2008

BAD MOVIE MONDAY: SKIDOO

In between doing my tax returns and watching the Britney Spears episode of How I Met Your Mother tonight, I have happened to tune in on the Internet to clips of what has to be one of the most bizarre movies ever made: Skidoo from director Otto Preminger. Holy crow, is this ever a weird movie.

This was Preminger's attempt to get with the LSD trend, and you had a lot of scenes in the movie of people tripping out. What was really bizarre was that all these established actors were in the movie seen doing LSD.

You had Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Peter Lawford, Groucho Marx (!!!) and a whole bunch of other, mostly-deceased people in it. (Apparently Carol Channing is still alive, which is a surprise to me because she really is old enough to be dead.)

You can watch the opening portion of the movie at Youtube here, and from there you can find links to see the rest of the movie. Or you can watch the whole thing here. Also, LSD guru Timothy Leary was shown in this trailer for Skidoo and I'm going to post the bizarre trailer here.


Critics were not amused. Here's what Vincent Canby had to say about it in the New York Times -- one of the more polite writeups, as the flick was basically crucified.

This movie was so big a debacle for Paramount Pictures that it was yanked from most theaters just a week after its debut. People in the States were apparently really offended by all the references to drugs, and young people just weren't interested in seeing these old squares Gleason and Groucho doing LSD in a movie. Apparently Preminger himself was so embarrassed by this movie's failure that this movie was sent straight to the vaults. His estate worked hard to keep it out of circulation as well, so over the years we've had no VHS, no DVDs, nothing. But thankfully we have the Internet, the place where long-lost movies and TV shows are rescued from obscurity and shown again. Skidoo is also starting to get shown on some mainstream outlets; seems Turner Classic Movies actually ran the movie late at night not too long ago. It's also been rediscovered at some film festivals as a cult classic, and people have written about it in the press.

Anyway that's Skidoo, which has to rank right up there now as one of the weirdest bad movies I have ever seen. I thought Myra Breckinridge was bizarre-- this takes the cake. Thank you very much, YouTube.

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