Skidoo (1968)

skidoo 1968

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert always warned against seeing movies loaded with big stars. This is a prime example of what they meant. This is so awful that you may find yourself with your mouth wide open in gaping amazement at how bad it can get. The movie doesn’t know if it wants to be a gangster comedy, a satire on hippies or anything resembling a good movie.

The cast features Groucho Marx, Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Arnold Stang, George Raft, Frank Gorshin, Richard Kiel, Fred Clark, Nilsson, John Philip Law, Frankie Avalon, Cesar Romero, Michael Constantine, Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith, Mickey Rooney, Slim Pickens and pro quarterback Roman Gabriel. They’re all directed by Otto Preminger with music from Nilsson.

Hitman Tony Banks (Jackie Gleason) has been retired from the mob for seventeen years. Now he owns a car wash. He lives in a San Francisco suburb with his wife Flo (Carol Channing) and teenage daughter Darlene (Alexandra Hay). The movie starts off a bit promising as Tony and Flo each have TV remotes and keep changing channels on each other. She wants to watch a senate crime hearing run by Peter Lawford. Tony doesn’t want anything to do with it. As they battle it out there are some funny commercials and as an inside joke with some clips from Preminger’s “In Harm’s Way” (1965).

Now it’s a fast ride downhill.

Tony’s pal Harry(Arnold Stang) looks out the window as a 1937 Rolls Royce drives up. He thinks it a pair of brothers looking for Tony. They go outside and Tony sees it’s Darlene with a hippie. He sneaks up on him and knocks out with his gun. Darlene says she just met him and his name is Stash (John Philip Law).

If that’s not enough for Tony to deal with he gets a visit from Hechy (Cesar Romero) and his son Angie (Frankie Avalon). Hechy tells him his old boss God has a job for him. He wants him to eliminate Blue Chips Packard before he can spill the beans on the organization. One problem. Packard (Mickey Rooney) is in prison. Tony refuses. After Harry is shot and killed in the car wash, Tony changes his mind.

While Tony is off to the big house Flo brings all the flower children back to the house. To find out why Tony is missing Darlene decides to visit Angie. He’s got a hi tech bachelor pad that may remind you of Quagmire’s place on “Family Guy.” Flo gets there first and ruins Angies’ plans. He explains to them about the organization which is headed by God (Groucho Marx). They demand to see him and Angie finally agrees to take them to God’s yacht.

Meanwhile, Tony is put into a cell with Leach (Michael Constantine). Tossed into the cell is Fred (Austin Pendleton). He’s a tech wizard nicknamed The Professor. A prisoner known as The Man (Frank Gorshin) is a trustee and gives Tony a way to get into Packard’s cell. Tony is writing a letter to Flo. When he licks the envelope Fred tries to stop him. He says all his stationary is laced with LSD. Now Tony goes on an acid trip.  Afterwards he refuses to do the hit. This has to be one of the worst scenes ever in any movie.

It may be hard to believe but the movie actually gets worse as it switches to the yacht. The captain is played by George Raft. A flotilla of hippies are on their way.

Frankie Avalon is actually funny and if the movie were more about his character it may have had a chance.



About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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