Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 27th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1972
Director: Robert Downey Sr.
Writer: Robert Downey Sr.
Cast: Albert Henderson, Michael Sullivan, Luana Anders, George Morgan, Ronald Nealy, Larry Moyer, John Paul Hudson, Jackson S. Haynes, Lawrence Wolf, Alex Hitchcock, Pablo Ferro, Toni Basil, Stan Gottlieb, Hervé Villechaize, Don Smolen, Joe Madden, Don Calfa, Woody Chambliss, Allan Arbus, Elsie Downey, Rex King, Jim Antonio, Robert Downey Jr.
DVD released: November 23rd, 2010
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
The easiest way to sum Greasers Place, is that it is a parable based on the life of Christ set in the old west.
Right from the get go it quickly becomes apparent that this is going to be one of more adventurous retelling of the story of Christ ever told. The plot revolves around a mysterious man named Jessy (Christ), an aspiring actor who is on his way to Jerusalem to become an actor. He arrives on the scene after parachuting from the sky wearing a Zoot suit. Everyone he comes in contact with an enamored by his gift to heal and resurrect the dead. Not satisfied with being everyone savior Jessy convinces the owner of Greasers Place to let him perform. When his performance fails to connect with the audience. He removes his gloves revealing the stigmata’s in the palms of his hands. This act sends the audience in a frenzy. This is easily the most compelling moment in the film. He performs that ultimate act of sacrifice to gain his audiences attention.
In a film filled with bizarre characters, unusual moments and absurd dialog. Some of the more memorable include a woman whose husband and son had recently been murdered. Throughout the film she is constantly being wounded by various weapons. The homosexual son of the owner of Greasers Place that is repeatedly killed by his father. Only to be resurrected by Jessy. And every time he comes back from the dead he says this “I was swimming in a rainbow with millions of babies… and they was naked… and then all of the sudden I turned into a perfect smile!”. Some other bizarre characters who populate this film include a midget married to a bearded lady and a man on crutches who enthusiastically chants after he is healed “I can crawl again!”
Even though there is a semblance to structure present in this film. The bombastic feel to the story at hand gives the overall flow of things a disjointed feel. Performance wise the cast are all very enjoyable in their respective roles, especially Allan Arbus (Coffy), in the role of Jessy. Another performance of note is Robert Downey Jr. (Less Than Zero), who appears briefly in the film as a young boy who is killed while he is sleeping. Greasers Place was written and directed by Robert Downey Sr. (Putney Swope). And in many ways this film can be seen as the peak of his career as a filmmaker. With the majority of the films that he has directed since being more mainstream film productions that feel far removed from his more independent film productions. When all is said and done, once you look past all the chaos that unfolds. This film is an amusing and at times challenging satire that comes dangerously close to crossing the line.
Scorpion Releasing presents Greaser’s Palace in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors fare well, flesh tones look accurate and details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with compression, print debris is minimal and the image remains stable throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Outside of some mild instances of background noise. The audio is in pretty good shape as dialog sounds clear throughout.
Extras for this release a thirteen minutes interview with director Robert Downey Sr., who discusses the origins of the project, amusing stories about the cast like how his wife convinced Luana Anders to expose herself for the cast, how he got his son Robert to redo a scene even though his performance was flawless and how he almost got Hervé Villechaize fired from Fantasy Island. Also included with this release are liners that were written by director Jonathan Demme. Overall Greaser’s Palace gets a strong DVD release from Scorpion Releasing.