Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gone with the Pope (1976/2010)

Director: Duke Mitchell

Writer: Duke Mitchell

Composers: Dominico Salvatora Miceli (Duke Mitchell), Jeffrey Mitchell, Chris Vizzi, Christopher Young

Starring: Duke Mitchell, Lorenzo Dardado, Jim LoBianco, Peter Milo, John Murgia, Giorgio Tavolieri, Jeanne Hibbard, Bill Boyd, John Bruno, Carl Cocomo, Paul DiAmico, Steve DiBiaso, Nola Hand, Jeffrey Mitchell, Zep Mizner, Joe Virzi

More info: IMDb

Tagline: You're either in, or you're in the way!

Plot: Duke Mitchell stars as Paul, a gangster with an unholy scheme: to kidnap the pope and charge "a dollar from every Catholic in the world" as the ransom.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Oh, yeah, and again, and again...that is, if they ever fucking release this sumbitch on DVD.

Featured on Stephen Romano Presents Shock Festival (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

The other night I had the privilege to see this on the second half of a double bill with the outrageous AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL (1972) at the Beverly Cinema in L.A..  Wow. What a double feature.  I'd never heard of HIPPIE but I'd sure had a few years of hearing about POPE and I was a gushing fanboy waiting to explode when the lights dimmed and the music started. I'd seen the trailer countless times.  I've shown it to my friends almost as many.  It's a great trailer and if you've seen Duke's other film, MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE (1974), then you've got an idea of what you're in for.  I LOVE that movie so I was primed and ready to receive the only other thing Duke directed.  Wait, that didn't sound right.

Duke Mitchel doesn't pull any punches.  He's a force of nature.  He's all over the place and he doesn't care what people think.  This picture, like MMS, is vulgar, crass and racist.  It's also funny as hell and it's got heart.  It's got some slow spots but I think some of that might go away for me on repeat viewings.  I can't emphasize how great the trailer is.  There's a mess of great trivia at IMDb that talks a bit about the struggle to get this film complete.  At the time of Duke's death in 1981 he hadn't completed editing the picture. He had a 3 hour work print.  Years later his son discovered this but 4 reels of the workprint were missing (about 40 minutes).  For 15 years Grindhouse Releasing worked on cutting the film to what it is today from that workprint, negatives, notes (there wasn't a script), etc. and it was finally released in 2010 where it has toured the country in select theaters.

Five years ago I saw MMS for the first time and I was blown away at how raw and unforgiving it was.  I came to that film after seeing multiple time the trailer for BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA (1952) and wanting to know who these Martin & Lewis lookalikes were.  And here we are.  It's 2013 and there's still no DVD release of GWTP.  Now more than ever I NEED TO OWN THIS.  Hell, I'd settle for a bare bones, movie only release at this point.  This is a movie that needs to be out there and not just one night stands a few times a year if you happen to be near the city it's being shown (that is, if you even hear about it.)  Bob from GR did a Q&A between the films only about HIPPIE.  I was disappointed that they didn't do the same with this one.  Hey, at least I finally got to see the fucker, right?

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