Comedy has many forms — but the comedic form of slapstick comedy is one of the most endearing, silly and often used vehicles in movies. Throughout the 20th century — but especially in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s — slapstick comedy was capitalized on by many of the most infamous comedy teams.
This week, MovieZoot.com is proud to feature four films from our collection of slapstick comedies starting with the 1946 Marx Brothers classic A Night in Casablanca; the 1950 Dean Marin and Jerry Lewis classic At War with the Army; the 1966 Phyllis Diller and Jack E. Leonard classic The Fat Spy; and the 1978 Bob Denver and Allan Hale Jr. reprisal in Rescue from Gilligan’s Island.
Make that popcorn a double order for this week’s parade of slapstick comedies! You’ll need it!
A Night in Casablanca
is the 1946 black & white Archie Mayo slapstick comedy starring the Marx Brothers spoofing the hidden Nazi cache of artwork hidden in a Casablanca hotel. Groucho Marx’s portrayal of a smart but somewhat inept hotel manager is compounded and magnified by situational set-ups from his array of guests, and the Nazi Count Pfefferman’s attempts to gain control of the hotel.
At War with the Army
is the 1950 black & white Hal Walker comedy/war musical starring Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Mike Kellin telling the story of the exploits of ambitious army men struggling against the system to obtain higher rank and greater privileges within the WWII Military infrastructure. Some of those complications and obstacles include a Post Exchange worker who is pregnant, a company commander who gets all his information from his wife, a scheming supply sergeant and a defective Coca Cola machine.
The Fat Spy
is the 1966 Joseph Cates fantasy comedy musical starring Phyllis Diller, Jack E. Leonard, Christopher Jordan and Jayne Mansfield in the story of the pursuit of the fountain of youth on an island off the coast of Florida overrun by partying youths. This was Phyllis Diller’s second foray into moviemaking from stand-up comedy. A couple of interesting and little known facts – a very young Barbra Streisand used to be Diller’s warm-up act in the early 60s at the Bon Soir in Greenwich Village; and Bob Hope once described Diller as “a Warhol mobile of spare parts picked up along a freeway.”
Rescue From Gilligan’s Island
is the 1978 Leslie H. Martinson comedy that was the first made-for-TV Gilligan movie after the popular 1964-1967 sitcom went off the air. Starring Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jr. and almost all of the rest of the TV cast, the film continues the story 15 years after the original shipwreck, after all of the characters have been rescued and have moved on with their lives, when they are similarly lost again at sea under very suspicious circumstances that may involve the Russians!