|THE PROJECTIONIST (director/writer: Harry Hurwitz; cinematographer: Victor Petrashevic; editor: Harry Hurwitz; music: Igo Kantor/Irma Levin; cast: Chuck McCann (Chuck the Projectionist/Captain Flash), Rodney Dangerfield (Renaldi/The Bat), Ina Balin (The Girl), Jara Kohout (Candy Man/Scientist), Harry Hurwitz (Harry the Friendly Usher), Robert Staats (The Pitchman), Michael Gentry (Usher / Henchman), Lucky Kargo (Usher / Henchman), David Holliday (Fat Man / Bat's Henchman), Sam Stewart (Usher/Henchman), Alex Stevens (Usher/Henchman); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: GP; producer: Harry Hurwitz; Maglan Films; 1971)|
could have been funnier and more imaginative.
I wanted to
like it better."
by Dennis Schwartz
low-budget film about a daydreamer trying to enliven
his dull life and deter his alienation from society
with his alter ego acting as a super-hero in his
dreams, that are inspired from movie lore. It's in the
order of the fantasy film entitled The Secret Life of
Walter Mitty. Though funny in spots and a treat for
film buffs because of all the film clips used and all
the movie references, the comedy could have been
funnier and more imaginative. I wanted to like it
better. Writer/director/editor Harry Hurwitz ("Fleshstone"/"The
Comeback Trail"), a painter and print-maker,
keeps it too much like a comedy act by mimicker Chuck
McCann, whose imitations of Laurel and Hardy, Bogie,
the Duke and Jimmy Stewart are first-class but
they overwhelm the slight nostalgia story. It's shot
in B/W with a hand-held camera.
opens with midtown Manhattan projectionist Chuck
(Chuck McCann) running a Gerald
McBoing Boing cartoon before the main feature gets
stuck and the audience hisses as he fixes it. Then
reacting to a radio news report of an old man mugged,
Chuck dreams he's a serial super-hero, the
fictional Captain Flash, and comes to the
rescue, and as a result meets and dates the vic's
beautiful daughter (Ina Balin).
villain is Chuck's mean-spirited bossy theater
manager, Mr. Renaldi (Rodney Dangerfield,
debut film), who gets off berating Chuck
and the ushers in the Times Square regal Palace
Theater, and in Chuck's dreamworld is portrayed as the
The pic's charm is showing the old film clips from films like Birth of a Nation, Intolerance and Sergeant York, and a coming attraction trailer entitled The Terrible World of Tomorrow. It flubs when it edits Chuck into the Rick's bar scene in Casablanca, as that infringement weighs the clip down with too much Chuck. Audiences never warmed to it, but the pic was valued by the esteemed Museum of Modern Art as one of the most important films of 1971 and was preserved as an American classic.
REVIEWED ON 1/6/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ