Sunday, September 2, 2012

Crazy House (1943)

I recently saw this film with Quentin Tarantino's introduction to this film on video tape a friend made from Trio. Quentin goes on about how Mel Brooks lifted a good chunk of the premise of this movie for Silent Movie. While the basic idea is the same, down on their luck film makers try to sign big stars for their up coming film, the results are decidedly different. Brooks played it pretty much as a straight film, while Olsen and Johnson used it as an excuse to do silly things with famous people. I prefer the pure insanity of Olsen and Johnson's take.

This is one of the best films that Olsen and Johnson ever made, even if it has one really big problem (which I'll get to in a minute). This is pure Olsen and Johnson insanity. Its a film where anything can happen, usually the silliest of all possible options. Its wild and wacky with Olsen and Johnson acting as steam rollers over Hollywood and the studio system. When the comedy is happening its a rapid fire collection of jokes and gags that never seem to stop.

Or rather stop a bit too often. The one really big problem I was talking about is that the comedy and the madness stops every couple of minutes for a musical interlude. These interludes pretty much stop the movie dead since any of the momentum thats been built up comes crashing to a halt. Most of the numbers are played straight so its a radical shift in tone that really annoyed the heck out of me. (Actually the numbers aren't bad they just belong in a different film) I know that the numbers are the result of this being one of those "studio" films where everyone in the studio appears partly as part of the story, but also as an advertisement for themselves and what ever movie they are currently promoting. (Hollywood turned these out every now and again often to mixed results)

Music aside I really like this movie. If you want to see Olsen and Johnson in great form this is a good choice to make.

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