Tuesday, 20 August 2013


This is what you get when a band called The Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo make a film.

Danny Elfman & friends

Oingo Boingo were a surrealist theatrical avant-garde 30's jazz-blues revivalists. The film was produced, directed and co-written by their then-leader Richard Elfman (brother of soon to be famous film music composer and also key member of the band who also scored and appeared in the film) Danny Elfman. Starring Herve Villechaize as the King of the 6th Dimension and Susan Tyrell as his wife (who had been until not that long since his actual wife), Richard Elfman's newly acquired French wife dancer Marie-Pascal as Frenchy, and most of the members of the band. Sets are made from paper and cardboard and make no attempt to hide it. The loose plot concerns the King wanting Frenchy to be his new Queen and his old one trying to stop it but that's often just an excuse for musical numbers as this is really a musical (sort of). There is some miming to old songs but most of it is new albeit in old styles.

Frenchy, speaking with a French accent

Most people will probably run away screaming after a few minutes (if they last that long) but give it a chance and you could well warm to this bizarre theatrical piece of musical-comedy surrealism. If you can accept the weirdness of its world it really is actually quite charming.

There's an excellent making of in which Richard Elfman interviews key members of the film including his brother, his ex-wife, and Susan Tyrell who says something so hilarious and so outrageous your jaw will bounce off the floor. Discussing her relationship with Villechaize, she says casually but no doubt very deliberately, "I always wanted to fuck a dwarf."

Really, you've got to see it to believe it.


Monochrome and colour versions are also on the DVD. I watched the latter.

This review is the same as appeared on Amazon, minus grammatical errors and spelling mistakes,  but with one added sentence. Can you guess what it is?

Also I forgot to use the phrase which would clearly mark me as an intellectual: Theatre of the Absurd. I'd write it in French (with a French accent) but don't want to sound pretentious.

Another Note.

The movie has been accused by simple minded people of being racist* and anti-semitic. Which amused the Jewish director Richard Elfman.

* In part it's also a tribute to black musicians like Cab Calloway. One of the extras includes a clip of the band with Danny Elfman (wearing his devil's horns) playing trumpet and singing St. Louis Blues.

Money was so tight that many of the cast, including Villechaize, would help with building and painting the sets.

Okay, I'm done now.

No I'm not. Forgot to mention that despite the cover stating the rating of the DVD is 18, on release it was only 15.

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