October 20th, 2006

Passion Productions Presents Fun With Harry Shearer and Richard Pryor!

A trip to Cobourg, Ontario (Canada, for you Amerks) yielded some interesting finds today.  Wal-Mart had Double D double features that they've been trying to unload since Boxing Day 2005 - Bruceploitation, Martin & Lewis, sci-fi, nothing too interesting.  Even at fifty cents, I couldn't be arsed to buy any of the Double D titles as they've been recycled more than a Ralph Bakshi animation cel - see Fist of Fear, Touch of Death and They Call Me Trinity for the five hundredth time.  Or don't!  See if I care!

The Everything For A Dollar Store, though, came up with the could-be-bootlegged goods.  Amongst titles like The Inspector General, Gulliver's Travels and the 1925 version of The Wizard of Oz, I picked up three titles from Passion Productions/Miracle Pictures/1st Miracle Pictures/Peacock Films for $1 each:

I doubt that The Three Muscatels [1991] (or as I like to call it, Richard Pryor's Ex-Wife Gets Her Ass a Job) is PD - Paramount Pictures released this according to Wikipedia.  Aside from being on a double feature DVD with Black Brigade this title doesn't seem to appear on DVD that often.  Essentially, Flynn Pryor's character has a dream where people that she meets are translated into a Three Musketeers parody.  Richard Pryor plays a wino, hence the pun in the title.  Yeah, it's a vanity production.  You expected less?

The Three Muscatels' picture quality can lovingly be described as "grody," the print looking at least twenty years older than it really is.  The idiots at Passion Productions actually left a DVD title menu at the end of their print.  Hmm, I wonder if someone filmed a projection screen to get around a digital watermark?  From what I've seen of The Three Muscatels, it's awful, but at least Richard Pryor was trying here.  Sadly, so is Flynn Pryor's acting.

Loose Shoes [1977] (a/k/a Loose Shose as the DVD title menu spells it) is a Kentucky Fried Movie-type spoof of cult films.  The film seems very uneven and the A/V quality isn't that great, but there's appearances by Harry Shearer, Howard Hesseman, Bill Murray and Buddy Hackett, among others.  Loose Shoes has that National Lampoon/Saturday Night Live feel common to late-1970s comedies of its type.  Seems perfectly adequate for the $1.

Bill Murray plays a substantial part in one of the parodies, which is a better cash-in from a Hot Comedic Guest Star than when I sat through Can I Do It...Til I Need Glasses? to see Robin Williams briefly enact bad Jackie Martling routines.  I know, I'm a masochist.

Dig these convincing fake capsule reviews, too!

Wow!  Those generic quotes have sold me on Loose Shoes!

I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now? [1975] looks like the best film of the bunch.  The latest IMDb review isn't that encouraging, but this review is.  A/V is about on par with the other PP prints - tolerable, but not great.  This appears on Mill Creek's Drive-In Movie Classics 50-pack, apparently.  Admit it, that is a great movie title, isn't it?

A Brighton supermarket (No Frills) also yielded a full-screen print of Withnail and I [1987] from Séville Pictures.  There's a more recent Criterion release of the film in letterboxed format, but since Criterion titles are invariably expensive I'm not complaining about how I spent my $3.99.  A/V quality on Withnail and I leaves much to be desired, like a transferred VHS print, but it's more watchable than Passion Productions' titles.  Considering the Séville release is five years old, it's kind of hard to complain about it.