I Saw A Film!
Now this is how you do an irreverent, all in, comedy. A couple days ago I watched and lamented the sad lack of humor in Transylvania 6-5000 which was made right around the time this excellent war spoof was put together. Do all the jokes land? No! But there are so many terrific sight gags, and earnestly done goofing on teen idol films of the 60s, that laughs abound.
Val Kilmer is Nick Rivers, American pop star (covering late 50s rock n roll proper and doing lots of cornball Elvis moves) filling in for a more appropriate musical star at an East German cultural celebration. Unfortunately the East German Nazi remnants are attempting to execute a plan, never quite expressed fully, despite Omar Sharif’s attempts to uncover it, to retake all of Germany and, one expects, the rest of the world.
Some of the sequences made for this silly film must have been ridiculous effort. As the leads fighting in a truck (and trying to change radio stations) fall off a bridge and into a river, the fight continues straight into an old western tavern. It’s a unique sequence of gags and fun. Another sequence has the hero visiting with an informant trying to put books away all shot in reverse, so Kilmer can just heave the books back into place and slide up a fire pole.
More fun jokes are set in a 50s diner (all in East Germany) while our hero breaks into a typical Elvis moment and all the kids in the diner are dancing around, the fellows in the back are swinging dummies in dresses with one hand. The mozzarella cheese on the pizzas is stretched across the room.
Of course, there’s a French resistance and the names of the fighters are Avant Garde and Deja Vu (who thinks he’s seen you before). There’s a double agent with a magnificent Blue Lagoon backstory with the lovely lady who Kilmer gets involved with. There are endless gags, and the thing looks like it had to have been a blast to create. Again, having just come off the wicked downer of a pratfall that was Transylvania 6-5000, this thing feels like cotton candy and Disney World on both coasts.
It’s running free on Prime in the land of the free! And mixing the genres (here Elvis with WWII) seems to be key to this enjoyable madness. Just the surfing and skeet shooting gags alone are well worth the laugh at American gun culture.