RogerBW's Blog

Bullshot 27 May 2023

1983 action parody, dir. Dick Clement, Alan Shearman, Diz White: IMDb / allmovie. The dashing Captain Crummond (war hero, flying ace, Olympic athlete, racing driver, and part-time sleuth) defends the Empire against the machinations of the evil Count Otto von Bruno. Later vt Bullshot Crummond.

It's very easy for a parody to point at its source material and say "ha ha, isn't that silly". A better one (like the original Pirates of the Caribbean film) accepts that, yes, the original may be silly, but it's also an enjoyable story, or it wouldn't be popular enough to parody in the first place. For me this film straddles the two attitudes: there's a lot of obvious pointing, but the overall narrative just about holds together on non-parodic terms.

The script is written largely by the leads (who also wrote and starred in the play that was the first incarnation of this story, nine years earlier). There are running jokes (Crummond's old soldiers from the war respect him profoundly, even though he was the proximate cause of most of their crippling injuries); there's a suitable villain, Ronald House doing his best Malcolm McDowell; there's a Good Girl and a Bad Girl; there's lots of innuendo; there's what I strongly suspect may be the giant octopus prop from Warlords of Atlantis (1978).

There's also some remarkable stunt work, a lovely Tiger Moth, and some beautiful steam trains.

I can't regard this as a classic, but in terms of parodying "Sapper" it does a jolly good job. Thanks to Jon Hancock for the recommendation.

"Is this seemly, Mrs. Platt-Higgins, playing popular music and your husband only ten years dead?"

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