1968 hippie dippy gangster shit

Rating: 9/20

Plot: A retired gangster is coerced to take out an old friend. Meanwhile, his hippie daughter is up to no good and eventually gets herself kidnapped by the mob big boss, God.

And God is played by Groucho Marx in what turned out to be his final movie. And he, like nearly everything else about this, is pretty awful. He looks like Groucho and walks a little like Groucho, but he's decidedly not Groucho. Marx doesn't really look like he actually wants to be there, and he's clearly reading every single one of his lines from cue cards. I almost felt embarrassed for the guy although the final movie shot of his career--dressed like a Hare Krishna and smoking a joint while sailing off--is strangely fitting.

This is definitely a product of the late-60's, except it's got a clumsy vibe because it's made by squares. Well, it's made by Otto Preminger. I'm not sure whether he was a square or not, but he definitely made a movie like a square would. The attempt to mash-up a gangster story with all these hippie shenanigans is awkward, likely because nobody involved with this knew anything about either gangsters or hippies. Neither the mob characters or storyline or the hippie characters and whatever they're up to is all that engaging, and the attempts at humor fall completely flat. It's painful comedy, the kind that tries hard enough to give you a headache. Most of the comedy is the type that should have been accompanied with that cartoonish bass drum sound effect. You know, that sound you hear when an extremely fat woman falls down.

I've had the soundtrack to this movie on vinyl for many years and was always a little curious about it although I was pretty sure it was going to be like The Magic Christian or one of those other late-60's dated things that I hate. Like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the makers of this decided to throw everybody they could think of into this. Jackie Gleason's his usual baboonish self, an orange and leathery Carol Channing certainly gives things her all, and John Phillip Law brings some Jesus into his hippie character. Frankie Avalon gives a performance that might convince you he was on something, and a cute Alexandra Hay plays Tough Tony's (Jackie Gleason's character) daughter and doesn't look bad in body paint. I'm not sure, however, that I needed to see a Carol Channing strip sequence, but the movie gives you one. It also gives you several villains from the Batman television show. Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero, and Frank Gorshin are all in this thing. And, of course, Otto himself was in that Batman show as Mr. Freeze. So is Richard Kiel. And soundtrack guy Harry Nilsson. And Arnold Stang. And Mickey Rooney. And Slim Pickens. And I think you get the idea.

This is almost worth watching for a truly wacky final 30 minutes or so. Jackie Gleason's character accidentally takes a hallucinogenic drug, and things get about as trippy as movies can get. It's not realistic trippiness, I imagine, but it's silly and entertaining, and it made me glad for sticking with this movie even though I really didn't want to.

Here's Groucho Marx's head on a screw:

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