© 1968 Otto Preminger Films

Skidoo (1968)

Why is it that great pop culture always seems to be tied up in some endless litigation, or under the control of executors or heirs who don’t understand its true worth?

Reportedly Otto Preminger’s children, who control the director’s estate, have never allowed his 1968 film Skidoo to be released on video or DVD, believing it not to be his best work. The lack of a wide release, coupled with still from the movie of Groucho Marx smoking a joint and Jackie Gleason on an acid trip have spawned rumors that this is a complete disaster of a movie. The truth is Skidoo is a surprisingly clever and prescient send up of suburban values,  ’60s pop culture, media-induced hysteria and the widening generation gap.  Although Groucho Marx is clearly too old to be acting in films, he is witty and still in command of his screen presence. Jackie Gleason and Carol Channing are funny, the writing is good, and the endless stream of big-name actors in small cameo roles adds to the camp value, but also makes a statement about the cult or personality in the media age. Skidoo is not even a good bad movie, it is a good movie.

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