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Hellzapoppin' (1941) DVD

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Hellzapoppin' (1941)


 H.C. Potter


 Nat Perrin (screenplay), Warren Wilson(screenplay)


 Ole Olsen, Chic Johnson, Martha Raye
Hellzapoppin' is the film version of the "anything goes" Broadway hit starring Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson. The original production was part musical comedy, part "blackout" revue, with wild sight gags, zany props, audience participation sequences, dirty jokes, and never-ending gunshots. There was no plot, and in fact no two performances were exactly alike. When Hellzapoppin' was optioned by Universal, the original intention was to film the play as it stood (minus the more ribald one-liners), but the studio got cold feet and grafted on a conventional plot and romantic interest. The film's story concerns a musical show being staged at a fancy estate, and the romantic triangle of the show's producer (Robert Paige), the wealthy girl who lives at the estate (Jane Frazee), and the girl's erstwhile fiance (Lewis Howard). The show's stars are Olsen, Johnson, and Martha Raye. Martha is mistaken for the wealthy girl by a penniless Russian aristocrat (Mischa Auer), and the entire proceedings are "investigated" by a goofy private detective (Hugh Herbert). Olsen and Johnson are thus reduced to supporting players in their own film, but when they do manage to command the screen, the results are hilarious. The best moments range from a throwaway gag about Citizen Kane (Johnson finds a sled marked "Rosebud" and mutters "I thought they burned that!") to the more elaborate special-effects routines involving the mixed-up projectionist (Shemp Howard) who's ostensibly runningHellzapoppin for the benefit of the film audience. While the movie version fails to completely capture the spirit of the original play (except in a bizarre opening sequence), and the finale is a major disappointment, Hellzapoppin remains one of the few sustained filmic examples of the "nut humor" exemplified by Olsen and Johnson. 
Here is the link to the movie at the Internet Movie database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033704/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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  1. Musical anarchy, a cross between the Marx Brothers and silent Rene Clair 4 Star Review

    Posted by on Jun 4th 2015

    HELLZAPOPPIN' IS A 1941 musical comedy starring Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson that features many attributes of experimental cinema but hitches them to an evergreen Hollywood musical story line. Visual jokes abound. Jack Otterson's grandiose sets and Elwood Bredell's highly kinetic camerawork are reinforced by top-notch sound engineering and surprisingly attractive musical settings. Forget the plot and simply enjoy onscreen chaotic nonsense.

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