Saturday, January 5, 2008

It takes two to SKIDOO!

So Skidoo came and went on TCM at 2:00am. It was a bit of an event, to say the least. Many of the more hip Internet blogs (even Boing Boing!) have been making this American broadcast something of a legendary landmark. So, for this landmark presentation, let's go down through the scorecard:

It was uncut and unedited. It was also the same exact transfer from the late nineties / early 2000's (with modern opening Paramount logo) that showed up on Australian TV a few years back (and became the source of many, many bootlegs). Luckily, it was on TCM, so there weren't any commercial breaks with fake fade outs or exit music like on the Australian broadcast. It was the original MONO soundtrack and, most unfortunate, pan & scan. This is a film that was shot in 2.35:1 Panavision and it's always been woefully cramped on television. It's a shame that TCM, which normally prides itself on presenting films in their original aspect ratio, didn't go the extra mile to hit Paramount up for a new transfer.

So, in short, it was wonderful to see this on Television finally after all these years but it puzzles me that it would be presented so lazily.

UPDATE 01-08-08!! Here's the magnificent trailer for Skidoo featuring celebrities not even in the film!!!!!!


garv said...

After watching SKIDOO, I can't see Paramount, or anyone for that matter, springing for a proper restoration. This pan & scan print will likely be the best we'll get.

Of course, the film has such a mystique to it, that it would probably sell well enough on DVD to make the restoration investment worthwhile. However, I think after a single video release, the mystique would pretty much evaporate, due to the fact that the film is a major snooze.

I love many derided cult comedies (THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN, CANDY, etc.) but SKIDOO is simply a waste of time. As much as I like Gleason (who actually gives a pretty good performance) and Groucho (who's phoning it in), I'd rather remember them for just about anything else in their collective resumes. Okay, with the exception of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT PART 3.

The Shockadelic "T" said...

I'm inclined to agree with you on nearly all points (I don't think Skidoo is a waste of time and it actually gets better with repeated viewings), though I would be proud to have "Skidoo" in my DVD collection. The deal maker for me would be a feature length documentary on the film. The problem there is, well, everyone involved is now dead or on their way very soon! I'm sure many great stories involving the making of the film are lost to time.

Have you seen the trailer? It's available of the "42nd Street Forever Vol. 1" DVD. I'm going to go and add the You Tube Version to my current blog post right now!

BTW... did you know you mentioned two Terry Southern films as your derided cult comedies? Fascinating.

garv said...

I love Terry Southern's work, including DR. STRANGELOVE, of course. The Sixties wouldn't have been nearly as interesting without him (this coming from a 39-year-old).

The only novel of his that I've read is CANDY, but I plan to get around to some of the others eventually. They all seem to be back in print.

I'm actually a huge fan of THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN. It's my favorite Peter Sellers film, but I seem to be alone in that opinion. THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN seems to display Sellers' sense of humor better than any other film he made. Of course, the fact that he was a writer and producer on THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN probably has a lot to do with that.

The Shockadelic "T" said...

Again, I agree (and I will be 39 this year!). The sixties actually needed his wit and sense of anarchy (but would that be the right word?), even if it didn't realize it fully at the time.

The Magic Christian is a good film that gets bad knocks. The Badfinger score is teriffic.

A connection that would bring the subject back to "Skidoo": Nilsson and Southern were friends (and probably went drinking with him. I mean, who didn't?) and formed Hawkeye Entertainment in the 1980's. Ever see "The Telephone" with Whoopi Goldberg? Southern wrote that one with Nilsson.

garv said...

I hadn't heard of THE TELEPHONE. I'll have to check it out to cleanse the palate between alky flicks.

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