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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Steve's Church-less Movie Of The Week: Part Two ...

Today's free movie is an absoolutely crrrrrrrrazy one. It's a Woody Allen movie and it's one of his greatest works, and yet it's the one film that most people don't know about and haven't seen. It's a work of pure genius and it's certifiably insane.

I've got an amazing first person account of the opening of this film from my father that I will share with everyone after the movie info.

Enjoy ...

"What's Up, Tiger Lily? is a 1966 comedy film directed by Woody Allen in his feature-length directorial debut. Allen took a Japanese spy film called "International Secret Police: Key of Keys" and overdubbed it with completely original dialogue that had nothing to do with the plot of the original film. By putting in new scenes and rearranging the order of existing scenes, he completely changed the tone of the film from a James Bond clone into a comedy about the search for the world's best egg salad recipe.

During post-production, Allen's original one-hour television version was expanded without his permission to include additional scenes from International Secret Police: A Barrel of Gunpowder, the third film in the International Secret Police series, and musical numbers by the band the Lovin' Spoonful. This experience helped convince Allen that he should secure creative control for all his future projects. The band released a soundtrack album. Louise Lasser, who was married to Allen at the time, served as one of the voice actors for the 'new' dialogue soundtrack, as did Mickey Rose, Allen's writing partner on Take The Money and Run and Bananas.

The plot provides the setup for a string of sight gags, puns, jokes based on Asian stereotypes, and general farce. The central plot involves the misadventures of secret agent Phil Moskowitz, hired by the Grand Exalted High Majah of Raspur ('a nonexistent but real-sounding country') to find a secret egg salad recipe that was stolen from him.

The movie has an ending unrelated to the plot, in which China Lee, a Playboy Playmate and then-wife of Allen's comic idol Mort Sahl, who does not appear elsewhere in the film, does a striptease while Allen explains that he promised he would put her in the film somewhere."

Ok, here's my story ...

My father went to see this the day it came out at a drive-in theater just outside of the sleepy little border town of Douglas, Arizona. My dad said that the place was packed with people, all of them excited to see Woody Allen's first film, knowing he was absolutely freaking hilarious. The movie, however, starts with a lengthy scene all in freaking Japanese. It's like nine minutes SOLELY in Japanese with NO Woody Allen and no Americans and no jokes. It's like how the first ten or fifteen minutes of The Gods Must Be Crazy is straight National Geographic documentary style boredom. And after a few minutes, people were screaming and honking their horns and throwing stuff at the screen. I mean, small little Douglas doesn't know that this is going to be a Woody Allen "prank the audience" sort of a film. They don't know. How could they? So the manager has to come out and say to everybody there "LOOK, THIS IS THE MOVIE YOU PAID FOR!" People were pissed! So about 2/3rds of the packed audience had left by the time Woody Allen finally popped up on the screen and explained the movie. HA! So my dad was one of the 1/3rd who stayed and for that he was awarded the rare honor of actually watching Woody Allen's first film at a drive-in the day it came out.

Crazy.

I love this flick.

Great stuff. Really great.

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