, ,


“You ought to, it’s fun!”

I was in college.  It was late, and Paul suggested playing a MST3K tape.  It was The Skydivers.  “Coleman Francis,” Paul said matter-of-factly, “he directed Beast of Yucca Flats.”

A bolt of lightning from the past hit me.  Tor drew me in, but it was Coleman Francis who was the man behind the camera.  It was one of those times I was trying to watch the movie in spite of the riffing.  (You can imagine my further joy when I found out about the existence of Red Zone Cuba).  Tonight is my first unriffed viewing of the movie.

Some very minor cut scenes missing (picnicking families, that sort of thing) and some of the skydiving is pared down by a few minutes at least.  Seems like the procurement of the acid takes a little longer than in the episode, but thankfully nothing exceedingly tawdry is shown.  It is still unpleasant to watch, but I guess Coleman liked her.  The only big chunk removed for MST3K are a few minutes before the dance party with Coleman refusing his daughter’s request to learn skydiving leading to an extending waving sequence.  A quick scene were a witness ids the slut and her boyfriend was cut for the SOL.   The ‘hunt’ for the slut and boyfriend was cut short too.  The Jimmy Bryant segments do not appear to have been cut

This movie is so much better than Yucca Flats.  It is better from a technical aspect, and there is more of a story.  Having sound helps.  And Jimmy Bryant’s music does rock.

Was Coleman trying to have some of that ‘beach movie’ cutaway humor?  If the implied tension was actually there, I could see needing the humor, but Coleman out Ed Woods Ed Wood.  His vision, his words, his everything.

It is all Coleman’s movie, and he still tells it wrong.  The man had fixations: light aircraft, coffee, skydiving, shooting people from the air even if you don’t know who it is, leaving corpses where they lay.  If I was a smarter man, I would say these three movies could tell all you ever wanted to know about Coleman Francis.  His hope and fears in a little over 3 hours.

And yes, the credits do roll silently along.

Watchabilty: 3 of 5.  It is such an improvement from this first film.  Maybe the overall best of the three.  I give it an extra point for my Coleman Francis fascination.

Missing the Riffs: 4 of 5.  Didn’t need the SOL, but I waited a long time to see it, so factor that in.