The Wackiest Ship in the Army

The Wackiest Ship in the Army.
Columbia Pictures 1960.

Before watching the movie:

Every time I see this title, I get a little disappointed it’s not The Ship with the Flat Tire, which apparently didn’t amount to much of anything outside of the enjoyment of the few who read it and has probably been out of print since the 60s.

This looks like a pretty standard farce with a misfit crew and a leaky boat, but Jack Lemmon will probably give it a good turn. What will make it distinctive is how colorful the eccentric characters are.

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Cinderfella

Cinderfella Paramount Pictures 1960.

Before watching the movie:

It seems a natural fit that a comedian who often plays meek nice guys would eventually land in a genderbent fairytale. If Jerry Lewis has a specialty in stories, it may well be nebbish men’s wish fulfilment fantasies, and few stories are more wish fulfilment than Cinderella.

In an era where we’re taking our traditionally white male role model character roles and trying to be conscious about putting more women and people of color there, it may seem a little backward to turn one of the canon fairytale princesses into Jerry Lewis, but I think the reason I’m not too discomforted by it is that Cinderella is a pretty classical feminine role type, and it’s not a position one would expect to find a fictional man who is the protagonist in. So it’s an underutilized permutation that stands exploring in media.

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Day of the Triffids

Day of the Triffids. Security Pictures 1963.

Before watching the movie:

The Triffids are an iconic piece of science fiction. Any locomoting plants in sci-fi stories will inevitably be compared with them.

The full-color alien invasion horror movie aspect makes me think about Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but there doesn’t really seem to be much in common between “anyone near you could have been replaced by an alien” and “run from that twenty-foot tall walking plant”. If there’s an allegory for something in the public consciousness in the 60s here, I’m not sure what it would be.

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Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Windsor Productions 1961.

Before watching the movie:

I’m entirely unfamiliar with this movie, but it involves shooting nuclear missiles at the Van Allen Belt to put out a fire, so the science is patently ridiculous. Apparently somehow this leads into a monster, but I’m not sure if the missiles create the monster, or if they encounter the monster on the way to where they need to shoot the missiles.

I know I’ve seen Walter Pidgeon in something, but I think the only thing is Forbidden Planet, which is completely overshadowed in my memory by showing Leslie Nielson in a serious role.

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The Endless Summer

The Endless Summer. Bruce Brown Films 1966.

Before watching the movie:

I wouldn’t have thought that surfing would make an interesting topic for a documentary until I saw that this existed. Maybe that’s one of the functions of good documentary film, to highlight things about the world you wouldn’t have thought you’d be interested to learn about. Apparently the director made a series of several surfing docs over ten years, which seems a bit much, but this seems to be considered the best.

I’m hoping to see 95 minutes painting the picture on the poster, living in the world of the 60s surfing scene and memorializing how great it was.

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Bedazzled (1967)

Bedazzled. 20th Century Fox 1967.

Before watching the movie:

Yes, there was a remake in 2000, which I haven’t seen either, but I was aware of at the time (I was only 12, there was no way I’d have gotten permission even if I wanted to see it).

I’m surprised by the critics’ comments about the intelligence of the movie. There’s a similar poster out there that has the quote shown here as well as another one calling it “an intellectual’s Hellzapoppin“. Considering it’s impossible to find a poster that doesn’t sell the movie on Raquel Welch’s body, I never thought “smart” would be a word to describe it.

What really sold me on it was the lead duo of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. I’m guessing the intelligence of the comedy comes from the ways the wishes get twisted.

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