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The Skydivers (1963).

February 13, 2009

The Scoop:
This Coleman Francis creation may be a psychodrama about the sinister goings-on behind the scenes at a desert sky diving school. It’s kind of hard to tell, since the film sucks so much. Bad acting, bad writing, bad directing, bad editing, bad location audio — everything is terrible.

Francis stalwart (and producer) Tony Cardoza stars as Harry Rowe, the owner of a skydiving school who cheats on his wife (Kevin Casey) with the town floozy (Marcia Knight). Miss Floozy tries to get her revenge by seducing some other guy (Titus Moede) and then hatching a convoluted murder plot involving acid in the parachutes. Meanwhile, Harry’s old army buddy (Eric Tomlin) wanders around and asks for coffee. Some other stuff happens, too, but it doesn’t make much sense and can probably be safely ignored.

However, the one aspect of the film that sets it above the rest of the Francis ouevre is the ludicrously eclectic cast of extras. Among others, there’s the beat poet with a chicken, the camera club geek, the gargantuan woman in a bathing suit, and to top it all off, the dancing Scotsman.

Francis, a Hollywood bit player for a number of years, struggled mightily to carve out a writing and directing career for himself in the early ’60s by churning out a string of quirky, incompetent melodramas that always seemed to come back to coffee and light aviation. While he stayed true to his singular vision, it didn’t work out for him — he died a homeless alcoholic in 1973.

But “The Skydivers” is good for many, many unintended laughs, even if you’re willing to brave it without the “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” treatment.

Best Line:
“I like coffee!”

Side Note:
Jimmy Bryant, the lead singer of the Night Jumpers, the band featured at the runway party, also lent his vocals to “West Side Story” (1961).

Companion Viewing:
“The Beast of Yucca Flats” (1961) and “Red Zone Cuba” (1966).

Daddy-O’s Drive-In Dirt.
he loved him some movies.
The Agony Booth.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

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