Hellzapoppin'

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A genuinely bizarre oddity, this madcap comedy is fascinating not only for its many very funny moments, but also for the way it includes, amid the material taken directly from the original stage revue, various purely cinematic gags which are surprisingly modern in tone and significance. The fact that Olsen and Johnson's revue-style material dispenses with plot, creating instead an almost Monty Pythonesque series of loosely, lunatically linked vignettes (many of them parodies of Hollywood clich├ęs, such as Elisha Cook invariably getting filled with lead), allows them to ignore realism and play around with the medium itself: at one point the stars have problems with the careless projectionist screening the film out of rack, upside-down, etc. Although lacking the satirical edge of the Marx Brothers, Hellzapoppin' frequently outstrips the works of Groucho and Co in terms of speed, imagination and sheer craziness.

By: GA

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