Odd but refreshing comedy stars Aldredge as a former chicken farmer from the Midwest who comes to New York to open a coffeehouse. Gangster Frawley (who plays three roles here) tries to extort money from him, as do a number of city inspectors and officials, but he refuses to pay them.
Frawley's lawyer and old college friend, Henry, is not as scrupulously opposed to greasing the wheels of justice, however, and pays properly. Aldredge persists in his moral indignation at the corruption all around him, and Frawley's minions eventually kidnap him and lock him away in a mental
institution. He gets out and gathers evidence to put them all away--including mastermind Flicker, the city's crime commissioner. Henry joins Flicker and girl friend Darling in cleaning up the crooked mob, but by the end of the film Aldredge too has been corrupted and merely takes over Flicker's
position. The film is an offspring of a Greenwich Village improvisational comedy troupe known as "The Premise," and it marks the writing and acting debut of Henry, who would go on to write THE GRADUATE (1967), THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976), and other interesting works. Also doing his first work
for the big screen is director Flicker, who would go on to direct the terrific satire THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST (1968) but from whom too little has been heard since. Some of the comedy is terrific, especially scenes such as one of an old woman accidentally being walled up, one of black fire chief
Cambridge speaking with an Irish brogue, and Henry's entire performance. The film's flaws are the usual failings of improvisational comedy on stage and on screen--vaguely promising ideas are beaten into the ground in the effort to get a laugh out of them when there's nothing there to laugh at. A
lot of the acting is barely better than amateurish, and Flicker's direction, despite the occasional flash of inspiration, shows his inexperience. Although a film of small importance, it is interesting and well worth seeing.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Odd but refreshing comedy stars Aldredge as a former chicken farmer from the Midwest who comes to New York to open a coffeehouse. Gangster Frawley (who plays three roles here) tries to extort money from him, as do a number of city inspectors and officials,… (more)