Thursday, February 10, 2011
The Phynx (1970)
This is the piece I posted at IMDB about a film that is legendary for its strangeness in casting (see below). Its the sort of film that appears on the credits of a large number of actors, but it's one that almost no one has ever seen- or would want to see. Its a weird weird film and in trying to point out films that have been left by the side of the road, this is one that needs to be pointed out much like you would point out the scene of a bad road accident.
Odds are you have never seen The Phynx and for good reason. This is the deformed beast of a child that Hollywood wants to keep locked up in the attic. Its the hell-spawn of the youth movement and the old embalmed generation coming together to make ... something.
The basic plot concerns the SSA (Super Secret Agency) attempting to rescue the icons of American culture that have been kidnapped and brought to Albania. Who are the great icons? George Jessel, Rudy Vallee, Edgar Bergan, Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, Joe Louis, Col. Sanders, Xavier Cugat and probably a dozen others (all I can say is I hope they were paid a lot). SSA decides that the best way to get them out is top form a rock band (think Monkees and Beatles singing songs by Lieber and Stoller) and have them invited into the country. They then kidnap Two white guys an Indian and a black guy and force them to be spies and a rock group thus allowing for some surreal bits as other stars show up to train the band (Richard Pryor, Dick Clark, James Brown among others).
My jaw dropped and stayed down for a good portion of the films running time.
I'm not sure how to rate this film. Its occasionally funny, has some good songs and proves that not everyone needs drugs to have their brain smashed like an egg.
This is a clear warning about who and who should not be mating. Clearly its a movie that wants to appeal to the youth market while at the same time doing everything it can to attack and make fun of the same market. Its as if your stuffed shirt of an uncle made your choices in current popular culture, clearly you wouldn't want to see his choices. At the same time the film is clearly about youth and what was then current culture so it wouldn't appeal to the old folks. Its a movie that will appeal to no one.
Actually not no one, bad movie lovers, fans of surrealism, those who must see every movie made by their favorite star, masochists, mental patients and those who want a unique (but not necessarily good) viewing experience will want to check the film out.
I've given it a 5 out of 10 because there is some good and some bad mixed in with the "I don't believe this" material so its the fairest rating I could come up with. Your reaction will be your own and with a movie like this I don't even want to guess what that is going to be. Take this review as either and invitation or a warning, its your choice.