Saturday, October 29, 2011

Puss in Boots (1961 in it's original version. 1964 in English dubbed version)

It's almost Halloween. Last year at this time we at Unseen Films did a series of films so bad that they should have remained unseen. We called the series Halloween Horrors.

This year we're going in another direction. This year we're taking a look at a bunch of children's films that are sure to bend the mind. Most of these films are originally from Mexico and were badly dubbed into English by K Gordon Murray who turned them loose on an unsuspecting world. The films were shown into the early 1980's at special kiddie matinees where they warped the minds of generations of kids. (I've heard someone say,half jokingly, that the reason the world is the way it is today is because so many kids were damaged by exposure to these films. I have no idea if it's true, but having grown up seeing these on TV I can say that can be more terrifying than Leatherface with a chainsaw, but for entirely different reasons.

I'm bookending the week with weekends where we look at two versions of the same classic tale. This weekend we're looking at Puss in Poots and next weekend we'll look at Hansel and Gretal. In between we'll be warming your mind with some of the most bizarre children's films in the world, literally.

I have no idea what you'll make of the series, but I should warn you that all of the films reviewed will be in story book color.

K Gordon Murray's dubbed version of the film El gato con botas directed by Roberto Rodriguez is a head scratcher. It's a weird collection of strangeness with saraceens,vikings, ogres and assorted strangely costumed people wandering around. It kind of works as a version of the classic story, then again it's often so bizarre and so out there, with one of the worst dubbing jobs you'll ever see that the film is laughably awful just because if technical issues.

The film begins with Randy the shepherd singing as he walks through the woods. Sometimes this involves moving his lips and some times it involves vantrilquism since often his lips never move.

Randy lives in kingdom which is meanced by an ogre and his son. The ogre can change things into other things and he has an army of bad guys, some dressed as sarceen warriors and others as vikings.

Randy meets the princess in the woods as her father and group are bringing another bribe to the ogre. The ogre doesn't like the bribe and instead wants to king to have his daughter marry his son. Never mind they are both about ten, thats what he wants.

Randy lives with his dad and two older brothers. The brothers are bad guys who smoke, gamble and drink while abusing Randy and their dad. When Randy fails to come home during a storm dad goes to find him but has a tree crush him.

Meanwhile Randy runs into Mother TIme who lives in a candy cave. She gives Randy a tiny hat, cape and boots with which to beat the orgre.

When Randy arrives home he finds that his father is dying, however before he can say what randygets as his inheritence they brothers kill him. they then turn Randy out with only the family cat.

As Randy bemoans the loss of everythngthe cat talks and randy nonplussed puts the boots, hat and cape on the cat, who changes from a real cat into a dwarf in a weird cat suit. He then dubs Randy the Marquis of Calaba (I think thats it) and they go off to save the kingdom, win the rincess and get some fish. Along the way they end up with a weird chicken (another dwarf in a suit.)

Strange doesn't begin to describe it. It's just beyond imagining, with several truly awful songs spaced randomly through the whole affair. Who needs drugs?

I can't see the audience this was marketed to in the US actually liking it.I kind of imagine them being bored or frightened since the chicken and cat suits are rather scary (though not as scary as some of the other suits we'll see laterin the week.)

It's mind blowing.

The real mind blowing part is the fact that this film kind of actually works if you're very forgiving. I mean if you can forgive the bad suits and under the bottom of the barrel dubbing the film kind of works as a telling of the story.

Then again when I saw it after a bad day at the office and anything that wasn't work related probably would have looked good.

For those in the mood for a real mind bending experience I recommend trying to see this.

(One thing I never noticed before is how little our hero does and how much the cat does for him.actually the kid does nothing and the cat does it all.)


  1. I remember watching those old movies in the summertime and as a young kid at the time I was fascinated by them. You have to look at these things from a small child's perspective. Kids have wonderful imaginations and I was particularly fascinated by the many strange characters..the story line really had no interest to me. Anyway...haven't seen them since back in the late 60s I believe...but I often wonder what happened to them...but from your review I imagine they were long tossed in the

  2. I am in total agreement with Emg. As a small child this was the first movie I ever saw, and it was a totally positive experience! I could have cared less about the plot, because that's the way six yr olds roll...but the costumed characters coupled with a child' near perfect imagination made this film work. Children have no problem imagining magical boots transforming a cat into a swashbuckling superhero. Their imaginations make up for the shortcomings of 1964 special effects. It is the adults who are disabled in this department and need the assistance of CGI to compensate...

  3. "I wanna sing a song to make you that you won't cut me in half!