Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Princess Trampolina!

Ye gods. This guy has collected a bunch of excerpts from what may be the weirdest film of the late '60s -- though obviously it's hard to choose just one -- Anthony Newley's Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?

It is impossible to describe this thing. The New York Times review tried, as have others. But all a description can give is the bare essentials: it was written, produced and directed by Newley, the premise is a ripoff of 8&1/2 but with more nudity and musical numbers, Newley's then-wife Joan Collins is in it, and George Jessel and Milton Berle are, respectively, Death and the Devil. But you've really got to watch parts of this for yourself to appreciate how much sense this movie does not make.

Compared to other legendarily terrible movies, I find this less painful than most, because Newley is a genuinely talented performer, writer and songwriter. He is horribly mis-using his talents, but at least you have the fascination of seeing someone talented make all the wrong decisions. The infamous "Princess and the Donkey" song isn't a bad song, really, musically or lyrically (though he shouldn't have tried rhyming "problem" with "Goblin"), it's just... you know... WTF?! Who would write a song on this subject, and who would then spend lots of money to put it on film? Anthony Newley, that's who.



13 comments:

wcdixon said...

wacky...

Bill Crider said...

I saw this movie in its first theatrical release. I still haven't quite recovered.

Jon Delfin said...

IMDb, increasingly useless, says Trampolena was played by someone uninamed Yolanda, whose page indicates she was born in 1908, and thus was about 60 when CHMEFMHaFTH was filmed. Sure.

Galen Fott said...

Wow, that was greatly weird and weirdly great. What a character Newley was, and an enormously talented man. I think "The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd" (he DID like the long titles, didn't he?) is one of the best Broadway scores of all time.

I just checked on Amazon and I see a biography of the man came out just a couple of years ago. I hope it does his amazing life and career justice. He seemed to get consumed by his own vocal eccentricities in later years, but his was a thrilling voice in its prime.

Tor Hershman said...

Weïrd films???

Here you go

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LubuSAgB5s

Stay on groovin' safari,
Tor

Thad said...

What... th' fuck.

I'm glad I clicked it, as they'll purge it soon for the T&A. Thanks... I think.

DrBear said...

I remember when "Can Heir....." came out, the local theater's newspaper ad simply said "call for the title of this movie." Couldn't fit it in the ad, I guess...

Anonymous said...

Peculiar though it may be, "Trampolina" was better than any non-Ashman/Mencken animated movie song written since 1989.

VP81955 said...

Jon Delfin said...
IMDb, increasingly useless, says Trampolena was played by someone uninamed Yolanda, whose page indicates she was born in 1908, and thus was about 60 when CHMEFMHaFTH was filmed. Sure.


It's accurate! Yolanda was the female half of the ballroom dancing team of Veloz and Yolanda, who won all sorts of dance contests in the 1920s and '30s. Legend has it that Disney animators designed Snow White to look a bit like her; I'm not sure that's 100% accurate, but I do know that in 1943 Veloz and Yolanda made a live-action dance short for Disney that was nominated for an Academy Award.

Moreover, Veloz and Yolanda were the dance doubles in longshot for George Raft and Carole Lombard in "Bolero" and "Rumba," though they weren't credited for that. (They did receive credit as choreographers.)

As fate would have it, I did an entry on Veloz and Yolanda at "Carole & Co." the other day: http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/#109243

(Those last numbers are #109243, in case the URL isn't completely shown.)

Jon Delfin said...

If Yolanda really looked that good at 60, then what can I say except "Can I meet her daughter?" (or granddaughter).

mrjewls said...

The IMDB and other sites are just wrong about Yolanda/Trampolina. I'm quite sure the Yolanda in the movie is Yolanda Veloz, born in 1945, who was the daughter of Veloz & Yolanda, the dancers. YV acted in a few TV series in the early '70s, married Bernie Kopell of The Love Boat, and became a successful real estate agent in LA.

Susie B said...

I saw the film in its original release and have never forgotten it. I have been searching for a video of it to purchase but without any results. Fortunately, still have my vinyl album of the original soundtrack.If anyone can point me to a source for the film, I'd be most grateful. Thanks very much.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I used to sing this song in a medieval dinner theater in King of Prussia, PA...circa 1977! Audiences loved it! Especially with the double entendre "littlest of men". Great to see you've posted this.