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Diplomaniacs

7 customer reviews

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Diplomaniacs + Wheeler & Woolsey: Wac X2 Feature  (2 Disc) + Wheeler and Woolsey - RKO Comedy Classics Collection
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Editorial Reviews

The comedy team of Wheeler and Woolsey are at it again in this screwball comedy. Willy Nilly (Wheeler) and Hercules Glub (Woolsey) are partners who own a barbershop. By getting Hercules' instructions wrong, Willy Nilly ends up locating their business on an Oklahoma Indian reservation where only one resident has facial hair! Whisked away by the oil-rich Oopadoop Indians, the pair are offered a million dollars by the chief of the tribe to represent them at the Geneva peace talks. What ensues is madcap hilarity on a steamship that goes in endless circles due to a drunken captain. The pair dodges assassination attempts and is spied on by the team of Schmerzenpuppen, Puppenschmerzen, Schmerzenschmerzen and Puppenpuppen! All aboard!

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Marjorie White, Louis Calhern, Phyllis Barry
  • Directors: William Seiter
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: March 15, 2012
  • Run Time: 61 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007549WTO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,022 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alex Udvary on July 31, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
If anything in "Diplomaniacs" makes sense to you, you are one step ahead of the game. Here is a movie that completely exist within its own world. Nothing in the movie is even in the slightest bit believeable. You could say this movie is delightfully ridiculous. It is as zany and offbeat as a Marx Brothers comedy or a Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movie. Because of this it is the best Wheeler & Woolsey comedy of the ten films I have seen by them.

If you can make sense of it the plot goes something like this. Wheeler and Woolsey play two barbers; Willy Nilly (Wheeler) and Hercules Glub (Woolsey). They open their shop on an Indian reservation. This is done because Willy misheard Hercules when he said they should open a shop where there are no competitors. Willy thought he said they should open a shop where there are no customers. Somehow the two men are called upon by an Indian Chief (Edward Cooper) to deliver letters to a Peace Conference they were not invited to. The Indians want Wheeler and Woolsey to have all the prime ministers sign their peace treaty at a convention in Geneva. So the two agree.

But wait, more nonsense ensues. Trying to stop them is Winklereid (Louis Calhern) whom with associates have developed an explosive bullet. Because of this they want a war to break out. Though it is never really explained why they want this I assume it is because they figure the world leaders will all want to try on buy these bullets. So Winklereid goes through various methods to stop the boys.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on October 27, 2013
Format: DVD
Truly bizarre political satire in the anarchic spirit of "Million Dollar Legs" and "Duck Soup." You'll have to see "Diplomaniacs" (1933) more than once to catch all the pre-Code jokes. Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey's vaudevillian whimsy gets an added boost from William A. Seiter's efficient direction and the wild script co-authored by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. A lively supporting cast features the talents of Marjorie White, Louis Calhern, Hugh Herbert and slow-burning Edgar Kennedy. Politically incorrect to the extreme, but a must for Wheeler & Woolsey addicts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ron Wise on June 15, 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Dipomaniacs" is one of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey's best pre-code comedies. There are lots of surreal gags along with several dance numbers populated with dancing girls in scanty costumes. My favorite is the "Oompah" dance routine performed by "Indian maidens" (direct from the RKO casting office) at the beginning of the movie.

Wheeler and Woolsey are a couple of clueless barbers on an Indian reservation who are hired by the chief of the "Indian Nation" to go to the Geneva Convention and represent Native Americans' oil interests in the United States. Granted, the chief could have selected a couple of representatives with brains, but then there would not have been a movie.

This wacky 1933 RKO film was the brainchild of the legendary Joseph L. Mankiewicz who also wrote the screenplay. "Diplomaniacs" also has a dream cast including Louis Calhern as a diplomatic spy, Phyllis Barry as a "Dragon Lady" type and leader of a band of cutthroats, and Hugh Herbert as a Chinese sidekick to Calhern.

In one memorable scene, Herbert decides to row back to China from Geneva (over 2,000 miles), When he arrives on the shores of China (that looks a lot like Santa Monica beach), he is greeted by his not-too-happy wife. This domestic exchange ensues:

Wife: "Where have you been for five years? Your dinner is cold."

Herbert: (Looking around and seeing several children below the age of five) "Where did these children come from?"

Wife: "Don't ask questions. Come eat your dinner."

Herbert: (Looks at the camera, shrugs his shoulders, then wraps his arms around everyone and says) "Come along Madame Butterfly. Come along children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Randy E. Halford on March 21, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I feel that Wheeler & Woolsey's fun-titled "Diplomaniacs" is forever doomed to be compared with the Marx Brothers' classic farce "Duck Soup". Here's why: 1. Both films came out in 1933. 2. They're both zany political satires. 3. Louis Calhern & "king of the slow burn" Edgar Kennedy (remember his great vendor battle with Harpo?) from "Duck Soup" also appear in this one. That said, while this movie is not as well known as DS, it is just as nonsensical and close to comic anarchy as you can get.
As barbers on an Indian reservation (!!), Bert & Bob are typically where they don't belong. That is, until a diplomatic opportunity sends them overseas. From there on, their mission is clear: Storm the world of politics and turn it completely upside-down (as the Marxes successfully did). If you're not familiar with W&W's comedy style, they lie somewhere between the Marxes and Olsen & Johnson; pretty heady stuff. Their films are peppered with zingers straight out of vaudeville (logically, as they originated from the stage). Musical comedy numbers have been their other forte, and this movie has some delightful ones, beginning with the giddy over-the-top Busby Berkely-type reservation opener.
Some of the segments are W&W at their wackiest: disrupting a courtroom (climaxed with a song in black-face), aboard a ship that gets to its destination in drunken circles, and a surreal moment when a marble bust comes to life & joins in on the villains' cackling.
Advice: Don't try to over-think this one; it's pointless. Just sit back & enjoy one of W&W's craziest films!
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