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Hellzapoppin


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Product Details

  • Actors: Chic Johnson, Ole Olsen, Martha Raye, Jr. Elisha Cook, Shemp Howard
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Full Screen
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Studio: Nostalgia Home Video
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OV7OVS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,080 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Based on the hit Broadway play, this wacky, sight-gag filled romp stars Olsen and Johnson as a pair of actors whose attempt to stage a musical at a swanky estate is hampered when the show's producer begins to woo one of the venue's upscale residents, the female lead is mistaken for a wealthy femme fatale, and the whole production arouses the suspicion of a bumbling private eye. With Martha Raye, Robert Paige, Elisha Cook, Jr., and Shemp Howard. 84 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English.

Customer Reviews

"Hellzapoppin" is a very funny movie!
Shazbat
It has a good picture and clear sound.
Robert P. Gilson
I'm glad it's finally getting noticed!
Randy E. Halford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert Whitaker Sirignano on June 13, 2007
Format: DVD
I watch this film, and I can see where Ernie Kovacs came from. I also note that a lot of the gags and set up in the film spilled over into the Warner Brother's cartoons of the era, and much later, with references to the way the film is being used. Not the camera, the film itself (to be understood if you see the DVD).
This was based on a Broadway play, it was a shapeless play, was different every night and before it became a movie had the distinction of running longer than any other broadway play.
Describing it only tends to spoil the viewing you will have later. I knew about the movie as a rumor and as a "you have got to see this film!!" kind of introduction. Some of the best dancing you will ever see on film.
Many laughs, much fun. Martha Raye is pretty good, though the "weirdness" of being a man chaser seems a little dated, and I met a few like that and didn't react the way it's placed in the film...(oh, never mind).
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 30, 2009
Format: DVD
Hellzapoppin' (H. C. Potter, 1941)

There was a time, believe it or not, when Hollywood was actually open to the idea of... skewering Hollywood. (Not only that, but nominating a film skewering Hollywood for an Oscar, even if it was only for Best Original Song.) One of Hollywood's great parodists was Nat Perrin, better remembered these days for being the producer of TV's megahit The Addams Family. Perrin, however, poked more fun at his Hollywood contemporaries than one can shake a sizable stick at during his writing days. And when it came to turning the sacred cows into shish kebabs, Perrin never did it better than in his stage-play-turned-Hollywood-blockbuster Hellzapoppin'. Despite being well-received in its day, the movie has faded well into obscurity over the past half-century; it seems the only American DVD release of the film is long out of print. This despite it being on Jonathan Rosenbaum's list of the thousand best movies ever made, a list I'm starting to think of as the canonical one. He's usually on the money; I've seen a lot of fantastic films I'd never have seen had I not come across that list, and this is the latest of the bunch.

The film stars Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson, a vaudeville comedy team who never quite made it in pictures, but were still popular long after vaudeville was. Here, Ole and Chic are contracted to make a movie. The director, however, isn't happy with what he's got, so he brings in a new writer. And what a story this guy dreams up. There's a love triangle, a Russian count (or so he claims) pursuing Johnson's sister, a big wedding that hinges on the success of a new Broadway play, and... well, I've just scraped the tip of the iceberg here. A full plot summary of this would be as long as the movie itself, there's so much going on here.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nick Denife on October 4, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
HELLZAPOPPIN' started as a stage play (if you can call it that) put on by a comedy team, Ole Olson and Chic Johnson. It was a bizarre, completely disconnected series of skits and gags - think of the Zucker/Abrams/Zucker movie AIRPLANE! and you'll get a fraction of an idea of how crazy the play was - brought to the screen by Hollywood, who screwed it up as much as they usually do by insisting on shoehorning a love story and extra musical numbers into it. At the beginning of the movie, Olsen and Johnson actually get into an argument with the director about this, saying that the stage play was a success without all that Hollywood junk in it. They even sit down with the director and watch the film in an MST 3K style for a few minutes before the movie proper begins. Although it's true that the gags are dated, this is still an entertaining, insane movie that, if you look at it with the right eyes, is WAY ahead of its time. If you're interested, I suggest you Google the stage play so you can get an idea of just how crazy the original show was. A fascinating, funny movie that deserves to be rediscovered.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Victor Reuneker on September 25, 2009
Format: DVD
The American Film Institute showed this film at the Los Angeles County Museum 15 years ago. I have never been in an audience that laughed so much as at this film. I have always liked Jane Frazee's singing voice and always wondered why she usually played B pictures. There are several very nice songs and production numbers and one in a swimming pool reminded me of Busby Berekeley. I bought copy of this film from England where it was available and enjoy it for all its wackiness. Maybe I have a weird sense of humor but the funniest line in the movie is when Olsen & Johnson walk past an igloo and a Rosebud sled is hanging there and Ole says "I thought they burned that thing." Hollywoods Attic has an excellent quality DVD available at a reasonable price.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Fred B. Goldstein on April 10, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This is one of those films that inspired a whole class of comedy. Along with others, this film was one of the inspirations for the TV show "Laugh-in" and is arguably an

influence on "Saturday Night Live" also. Not to be missed!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shazbat on March 16, 2006
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Hollywood, unfortunately, imposed a love story (of sorts) on an otherwise zany film escapade. Fortunately, it is not too serious, and lends itself to many comic devices. While not capturing the madness that abounded in the duo's Broadway smash hit, the film does reflect its stars' non-sequitorial views of life's linearity. Generally fast-paced, except for a couple of uninspiring musical numbers. "Hellzapoppin" is a very funny movie!

The "Laugh-In" comedic style one viewer commented on is, in actuality, the oldest of vaudeville gimmicks...the "blackout." From a historical perspective, one of the most interesting devices in the film is the "Mystery Science Theatre 3000"-esque scene where they are sitting around a movie screen and...well, buy the movie and see for yourself!
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