Friday, August 04, 2006

Reality Follows Hollywood

'Way back in the late sixties, Jerry Lewis starred in a movie called Hook, Line, and Sinker. Not exactly an Oscar contender, it also wasn't the usual awful Jerry Lewis schlock filled with bad slapstick and worse verbal coleslaw. All the way through this movie, he played it straight...just like a real actor.

Opening shot is head-and-shoulders only, and he and another man (Mexican doctor) are having a rather serious discussion. The doctor says something along the lines that the chances for the operation to be successful are rather slim, because nobody has ever performed this particular operation before, and the doctor is curious about how this particular operation came to be necessary. If the good senor would please be so kind as to fill in the details... And the movie begins.

It's about a modern man (for l969, that is), with a wife, the obligaotry two kids, and a best friend who is also his family doctor. Best friend/doctor has just diagnosed him with a particularly horrible, terminal illness. And best/friend/doctor is also diagnosing some fin de siecle therapy: you've been a wage slave all your life; now is the time to cut loose and spend your last few weeks indulging your every fantasy! Never mind the expense -- run your credit cards up past the max! How are they gonna collect after you're gone? Meanwhile, have a blast!

*(For this plot line to work, you really have to know that back in those days, the credit card companies could not go after the surviving spouse if she first posted a notice in the newspaper saying they she refused to be responsible for debts other than her own -- which she did, in this case)*

And the movie takes off and runs through an orgy of expensive fantasies. Then, at one point, he discovers that his almost-late wife and his best friend/doctor are having an affair; and together, they cooked up his so-called terminal illness to get him out of the way of their happiness.

What can he do? He's now on the legal hook for fraud on a massive scale. He's not dying at all. But he can't go home again, either. At best, if he reveals himself to be alive and healthy, he goes to prison. The only thing left to him is revenge. And boy! does he get revenge!

Then he goes deep-sea of the few things left that he always wanted to do. The penultimate scene in the movie is that of a marlin, having been hooked, leaping out of the water and flying in the direction of the boat...

...and back to the opening shot, where the camera pans back to reveal the two men in an operating theater, surrounded by medical students, somewhere in Mexico; and the doctor, being about to perform a marlinectomy, just wanted his curiosity satisfied before he goes ahead with the operation.

It's a really good movie. It's not available either on DVD or VHS, unfortunately. I have a feeling that it's one of those movies lost to decomposition in the studio vaults over the years. Damn shame it has to be that one lost rather than all the other crap he ever did...


Anonymous DazzlinDino said...

Hmmm. perhaps I can download it...

Saturday, August 05, 2006 9:35:00 PM  

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