I have come in from the labyrinth to chill before bedtime. I decided to watch an old movie called Skidoo, Otto Preminger’s strangest film. So far it’s incoherent, as promised in everything I’ve read about it. It stars Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Frankie Avalon, Fred Clark, Michael Constantine, Frank Gorshin, John Phillip Law, Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith, George Raft, Cesar Romero, Mickey Rooney, and “Groucho Marx playing ‘God'” , and introducing Austin Pendleton.
More about this later.
[I’m going to post this and continue live-blogging.]
It’s my plan to continue hacking away at the nothing that is Prelude No. 6 tomorrow morning. It has not escaped my notice that my usual modus operandi is not operational, to wit, I do not feel the urge to distract myself with my art. In the past, it has been easy to switch back and forth. When the music wasn’t going well, I’d sketch or paint, and vice versa.
But this time, I only feel the need to work on the music because it’s actually due for actual performance. I’m a little nonplussed about that. Am I getting further behind on the ELP? Can’t be helped.
The movie also has Michael Constantine and Richard Kiel and Slim Pickens. It has atrocious sound. Also nudity and drugs. Jackie Gleason just licked some stationery belonging to Austin Pendleton which is soaked in LSD. He’s tripping. Badly, I might add.
‘God,’ by the way, is the head of the crime syndicate, not any sort of deity. I for one am disappointed.
The acid trip is overextended and stupidly “psychological.”
Now we’re on God’s ship. The dialog is almost random and the characterization even moreso.
Poor Austin Pendleton. This was his first film? He just dumped his entire stationery “stock” into the bread machine of the penitentiary kitchen.
The whole prison is tripping. One of the guards saw the prisoners as the Green Bay Packers , naked , and now the garbage cans are dancing in posterized colors. Silly.
Such bad acting. Was this Preminger’s attempt to be hip?
Now the hippies are attacking God’s boat. The whole thing looks as if it was shot in one weekend. Carol Channing in some kind of Revolutionary War getup leading the attack in a musical number, “Skidoo,” of course. Peace, love, and unplugged electric guitars. Oh, and an inadvertent crotch-shot of Ms. Channing, who earlier was lounging in tights and bra in Frankie Avalon’s bachelor pad. She actually looked pretty good.
Now Gleason, having escaped from prison in a hot air balloon, wanders through the hippie crowd asking “Where’s God? Does anyone know where God is?”
Austin and Groucho are on a sailboat, escaping, toking on joints.
Mercy. At least the costumes, by Rudi Gernreich, were impressive. I know this because they’re singing the entire credits to us now.