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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

VHS Vednesday: Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad

OH DAD, POOR DAD, MAMA'S HUNG YOU IN THE CLOSET AND I'M FEELING SO SAD (1967). Directed by Richard Quine. Starring Rosalind Russell, Robert Morse, and Jonathan Winters.


Long title, truncated review.
Oh Dad, Poor Dad... is one of those cases where the filmmakers were going for outlandishness for its own sake, piling one bit of wackiness on top of another until it collapses under its own whimsy. A small seaside resort greets their new guest, the incredibly wealthy and domineering Madame Rosepettle (Rosalind Russell), who has arrived with her spineless son Jonathan (Robert Morse)...and a coffin containing the preserved body of her late husband (Jonathan Winters). Nobody thinks this is odd (or perhaps they don't dare comment on it). As Jonathan attracts the attention of a curious young woman (Barbara Harris), Madam Rosepettle sets her sights on a new potential husband (Hugh Griffith) to add to her fortune. Zaniness ensues.
After the initial shooting, the studio found the movie to be such a jumbled mess that they attempted to tie it together with voice-over narration from beyond by Jonathan Winters, adding an introductory scene with Winters as an angel being fitted with his wings to explain/justify this conceit. It didn't help much.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
As distinguished as all the cast members are, none of them have any reason to be proud of this movie. Rosalind Russell's character comes across as an over-the-top exaggeration of her famous "Auntie Mame" role, minus that character's positive qualities. Robert Morse essays the same naive-youth character he had played so well in The Loved One, but the role of Jonathan is a blank slate that gives him nothing to work with. Hugh Griffith is reduced to little more than looking befuddled. Only Jonathan Winters' mocking narration, by acknowledging the movie's lack of sense, manages to salvage a bit of...well, "dignity" is perhaps too strong a word...

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1 Comments:

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Sea_of_Green said...

Poor Jonathon Winters. He was never in a film that was as good as HE was. :-(

 

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