Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Up! (4½ Stars)

"Poor Adolf, so misunderstood, so wrongfully condemned for ridding the world of the mongrels who would contaminate us all".

This is the 16th film in the Russ Meyer Collection, made in 1976. The film begins with the words, "This is not a fairytale". So what is it? It's a political satire which takes place in a world populated by American archetypes. There are the pilgrim fathers, the black immigrant and the Chinese immigrant. Then there's Adolf, who might not be American, but he's moved to America to enjoy the American dream.

In Russ's previous film, "Supervixens", we saw that Martin Bormann had survived the Second World War. In "Up" we see that Adolf Hitler has also survived and moved to America. He's no harm to anyone any more. He's bought himself a large palace in the mountains, and he supports the local community by paying people to torture him in his dungeon. Everyone's happy, until an unseen assailant kills him by dropping a piranha in his bath tub.

The film develops into a whodunnit. Many things happen over the next two months, including a series of unrelated deaths, but the big question remains: Who killed Adolf? If you've never seen the film before, the answer will shock you when it's revealed.

As is usual in Russ Meyer's films, the characters are either good or evil, with no in-betweens. The women are kind and loving, the men are violent. Everyone is overseen by a Goddess who calls herself the Greek Chorus. She's characterised by boundless sexuality, writhing in ecstasy as she talks to the audience about the film's characters. She is the one who calls upon us to judge. There is no moral summing up in this film, no monologue explaining the good and evil. It's left up to us this time.

Watch out for Russ Meyer's cameo. He's in the bar during the big fight scene. It's also worth mentioning that this is the only film I've ever seen in which a policeman chases a villain with a chainsaw.

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