Hellzapoppin’ (H. C. Potter, 1941)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Hellzapoppin’.

criterion logoMake way for the nuttiest, zaniest, wackiest film this side of the loony-bin!  Comedy team Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson blast through the fourth wall and demolish the musical-comedy genre, playing Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson, production assistants to a fledgling stage revue.  Hellzapoppin’s screwball romance story takes a backseat to the daffy hijinks and absurdist gags that tear at breakneck speed through this play within a film within a film.  Inspired by the comedians’ highly successful Broadway show and adapted to mock the filmmaking process, Hellzapoppin’ is a singular work of celluloid irreverence where ANY SIMILARITY TO A MOTION PICTURE IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL!

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Introduction by filmmaker and comedian Mel Brooks
  • New interview on the Hellzapoppin’ Broadway musical with Jack Marshall, Artistic Director of The American Century Theater
  • Crazy House, Olsen and Johnson’s 1943 feature film follow-up where the duo attempts to film an independent movie after being fired by Universal Pictures
  • Kinescopes of Olsen and Johnson’s NBC variety show Fireball Fun for All
  • PLUS: An essay by media scholar Henry Jenkins

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The Backstage Blogathon

sis-backstageblogathon-4Big thanks to Fritzi at Movies Silently and Janet at Sister Celluloid for organizing the Backstage Blogathon, a 4-day bonanza devoted to those films that go behind the scenes of the performing arts.  Criterion Collection fans obsessed with spine numbers will happily note scheduled posts on Ernst Lubitsch’s hilarious To Be or Not to Be (1942) and Powell and Pressburger’s dazzling The Red Shoes (1948) – two excellent choices.

MMC! will be suggesting a wacky “C” for H.C. Potter’s Hellzapoppin’ (1941), a rarely seen, cockamamie classic featuring Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson.  A title in desperate need of a legit release to home media, Hellzapoppin’ smashes through the fourth wall at every turn, uproariously upending both stage and screen like a Looney Toons cartoon come to life.  Lovers of the Lindy hop, Citizen Kane references, pratfalls, beautiful women spit roasted by devils, and the unexpected interruptions of an inattentive projectionist should take note – the mothership arrived 75 years ago and it’s still waiting for you.