Yesterday it rained all day and all night, and it’s raining now, and my brain is tired. Besides, I’d rather not do battle on the Sabbath day.
So I thought I might review a movie, instead.
Here is a forgotten gem from 1970, produced by the one-time-only team of Leonard Bernstein, Ingmar Bergman, and Elston Howard–My Brother, My Soul, My Granola. You can buy a copy from that guy over there in the raincoat.
Arnold Stang plays a Swedish politician who gets wise counsel from rutabaga farmer Charles Bronson. But Stang is no sooner named secretary general of the United Nations when he discovers a plot by bad-guy professional wrestlers (masterminded by real-life wrestler, Mr. Fuji) to take over the world.
In desperation, he calls on retired Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Farnsworth Chillingham Smythe–played to a T by real-life wrestler Sgt. Slaughter–now a professor of philosophy at Harvard. Smythe has to set aside his cap and gown and go out and beat down the bad guys, one after another.
The action tends to get a bit confusing, so the screenplay (rumored to have been written by Tom Wolfe and Spiro Agnew) intersperses it with talking-head scenes of discussions between John Houseman and Gloria Steinem. In their chats, they explain what’s going on in the rest of the movie. This was shortly before Houseman shot his agent. (Remember that trial? He was acquitted.)
The soundtrack is a continuous loop of John Lennon singing “Imagine.” If you can stand that, you can stand anything.
I recommend you see this movie. After you’ve seen it, everything else you see will seem so much nicer.
[Note: Back in 1975, my very first column for the now-defunct Bayshore Independent was a review of a non-existent movie, under the headline that I’ve used today. Permit me this bit of nostalgia. I’ll get back down to business tomorrow. Meanwhile, I hope you had a chuckle or two.]