Greaser's Palace (1972) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|Two thumbs sort of
up. It's obviously not for everyone. In fact, this is actually a poorly
and cheaply made movie. On the other hand, it is so strange and so
"sixties" that it is really appealing for many who miss the spirit of
anarchy in the art of that era.
Tuna's comments in white:
Greaser's Palace (1972) could only have
come from the 1967-73 era that we now call "the sixties". Those who
remember that time might recall that a common justification for having
long hair was that Jesus had long hair, the implication being that
hippies were more "Christlike" than the conservative Christians who were
not very kind to longhairs. I suppose a natural outgrowth of that was
making a hippy "Life of Christ" film, and Robert Downey (senior) stepped
up, or perhaps stumbled up, to the plate. The Jesus character, Jessy
(Alan Arbus) is a zoot-suited wannabe song and dance man on a holy
pilgrimage to the Old West, looking for the agent Morris. He enters a
small town that seems to consist entirely of "Greaser's Palace", a
saloon owned by the local strongman, Seaweedhead Greaser, which features
performances from his daughter, Cholera Greaser. Then there is his son,
Lamy "Homo" Greaser, whom Seaweedhead keeps killing, but whom Jessy/Jesus
keeps resurrecting. Lamy describes each death experience as follows, "I
was swimming in a rainbow with babies and they were all naked, then I
turned into a perfect smile."
Most of the comments at IMDb are very positive. Seems like there are a lot of people who remember the 60s.
Scoop's comments in yellow:
|Sometimes I start a review by drawing your attention to the fact that it's an odd movie, and you won't like it if you're a mainstream filmgoer. Wellsir, this ain't just an odd movie. This is arguably the oddest movie ever made. It makes Don't Touch the White Woman, the movie with Mastroianni as General Custer, seem like a Doris Day movie.|
|It centers around Jesus returning to the earth in the old west, into the most run-down, shabbiest town in any dried up gulch. (Well, I suppose Bethlehem was no Paris either.) He's on his way to Jerusalem to be an actor/singer/dancer, and he's a whiz at performing 1940's boogie-woogie ("He's got the boogie in his fingers and the hubba-hubba in his soul"), although he's about sixty years ahead of his time and it isn't much appreciated by the locals.||
"Jessy", (Allan Arbus - the psychiatrist Sydney
from M.A.S.H., and husband of the strange photographer
Diane Arbus) is wearing a black and white striped 1940's
zoot suit and a big pink hat, and looks pretty much like
Jim Carrey after he puts on The Mask. God the Father is a
crusty lookin' old cowboy greybeard. The Holy Ghost
wears a cowboy outfit except for the bed sheet over his
head with two eyeholes cut out, and he's upset because
The Father never gives him a chance to do anything
Seaweedhead Greaser is the guy who runs the town, and he has constipation problems. It appears to me that he can't move to action unless properly spurred by Mariachi music, so his quartet follows him around in case he needs them. Like all movie strongmen, he has a wimp of a son, and he kills the kid, Lamy Homo Greaser, in the first scene, but Jesus/Jessy later brings him back to life like Lazarus, and .....
Let's see. Tattoo from Fantasy Island plays a homosexual cowpoke who makes a move on Christ. And there's a 90 year old man playing a character named "Petunia", clad in pink gingham drag, and .....
... and there's really no way to describe this without going through every discontinuous scene. It was directed by the supremely odd Robert Downey Senior, and will give you a clear hint that Downey Junior's drug problems may be inherited.
See the links to the left. If you like Greaser's Palace, you will undoubtedly love Putney Swope, Downey Senior's no-budget masterpiece, a satire of what happens when a bunch of Black Power advocates are accidentally thrust into the management of an advertising agency.
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