7 June 2003 | Pasafist
Passafist Reviews Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hun You In The Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad!
I don't think I'll ever understand the 60's? What a wacky time! Somewhere between civil rights marches, Vietnam, moon landings, LSD, and the myriad of other things that came put of that time, also came some of the oddest movies ever. Major studio's seemed to be dumping large sums of money into strange films some that come to mind, Otto Preminger Skidoo, The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, and the film I'm about to review, OH DAD, POOR DAD, MAMMA'S HUNG YOU IN THE CLOSET AND I'M FEELING SO SAD.
The film based on the stage play by Arthur L. Kopit (The Stage Musical PHANTOM, not to be confused with Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical.) and stars veteran character actor Rosalind Russell (His Girl Friday) as Madame Rosepettle. Madame Rosepettle is an eccentric overbearing women. She's the kind of women who sucks the air out of any room she's enters. She has many strange quirks like that fact that she has two Venus flytraps she loves to take care of and a tank full of Piranhas that eat Siamese cats. Oh yeah and when her husband died she had him stuffed and she keeps him in a closet.
Her son Johnathan (Robert Morse, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) is 24 years old and act like he's five. His mother keeps him indoors at all time, keeping him busy with stamp collections, edited books, and a telescope.
As the film begins we watch as Madame Rosepettle and her son land in Jamaica. They are staying at a first class resort for the summer. There they meet the beautiful Rosalie (Barbara Harris, Gorse Pointe Blank), the resorts baby sitter whom falls for Johnathan and Commodore Roseabove (Hugh Griffith, Start the Revolution Without Me) a crazy ship captain who pines for Madam Rosepettle. All these characters meet up and well, all hell breaks loose.
Did I forget to mention Johnathan Winters receives top billing in this film as Dad the Narrator?
This film is bad, but it has too much spunk to be unwatchable. It is vibrant; the story has life, and the actors all do a great job of creating these lively and humorous and malajusted characters. What weighs the film down into mediocrity is Johnathan Winters. He does narrate this film. But not the story, he narrates the action, and every time he does we see this small freeze frame of his face pop up on screen. A gimmick that stops the film cold dead in its tracks, I'll bet some Paramount bigwig said this movie makes no sense, we have one of the biggest comedians of the day why waste him in such a small role. There are perfect comedic and dramatic beats in this film destroyed by Winters banal comments.
The single greatest sequence in the film is a short silent movie narrated by Madame Rosepettle. It's so perfect, it so crazy, and it is flawless in delivery. It in of itself would make a fascinating short.
Honestly, this film is the comedic answer to Psycho. It's about a boy's relationship to his crazy mother. It's kinda funny, but Robert Morse also has a stunning resemblance to Anthony Perkins. It's not Psycho, it isn't anywhere close, but it's a lot of campy fun and in the same vein. If you like great bad movies, I'd try to track down a copy of this film.
If you're a fan of camp, if you want to wallow in the bad seek out OH DAD, POOR DAD, MAMMA'S HUNG YOU IN THE CLOSET AND I'M FEELING SO SAD.