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Description: Fine-arts student Zosia is a young daredevil mural painter who enlivens Warsaw with lovely graffiti. She lives with her mother Roma and grandmother Romy in a pretty villa that has come under threat from property developers. Romy has long lost the deeds to the house. Will the girls lose their home? And will they wish to stay there once Roma finds fresh love and granny reveals a secret from long ago?
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Description: This is a student movie made while Adam Bertocci was enrolled at Northwestern University, but compared to many another student movies I have seen, it is head and shoulders better. It has perfect writing, direction and a professional quality about it you might not normally expect--plus the movie is pretty as can be with a really intelligent story. However, given that I have seen other of Adam Bertocci's perfect short films, LOVE: THE MOVIE, I now was expecting something special--as LOVE was a heck of a new and entertaining movie as well. Both films, it turns out, have already received awards and I certainly am not surprised. In fact, I can't wait until Bertocci "turns pro" so to speak--in another words, moves to Hollywood and makes a bazillion bucks making more great tiny films--but with bigger budgets. Hold an eye out for this guy.
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The joke in this film's game was too subtle for me, but a Yank mate explained it: "All-American" formerly designated a group of male collegiate athletes, and a "Co-Ed" was a female college student ... so "All-American Co-Ed" is a sexual oxymoron. Here's a musical comedy about transvestism which (except for some unpleasant racial humour) manages to maintain at least a surface appearance of innocence. But under that surface ... whoops!The late choreographer LeRoy Prinz was openly gay: Maximum Wilk's ebook 'The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood' includes an hilarious anecdote about Prinz working for "Aunt Sam" during WW2. Prinz usually subordinated his talents to another film-makers' vision. When Prinz decided to create his first film as a director-producer, 'All-American Co-Ed' was the result. I can't support wondering to what extent this cross-dressed storyline struck a private chord with Prinz. I'm aware that homosexuality and transvestism are two various phenomena, but there's inevitably some overlap. Considering that 'All-American Co-Ed' is almost entirely about cross-dressing, there's surprisingly tiny homosexual content here ... and most of it is sapphic rather than male.Every culture has its cross-dressed traditions. We Brits have got panto dames and principal boys. For some reason, the Americans have got Hasty Pudding clubs with college males in frocks and wigs. I normally dislike American college movies, since they're everytime about the Large Minigame or the Large Dance. (Classes? What classes?) 'All-American Co-Ed' gets a gratis pass for that crime with its witty disclaimer: 'Any similarity to current college life depicted in this picture is purely coincidental.' Prinz begins out dangerously during the opening credits by showing a chorus line of shapely gams, inviting us to search them pretty ... then tilting upwards to reveal that these are college men in drag. Nice job for me I'd spotted the male kneecaps.There are some weird musical decisions here. Johnny Downs, in full drag but male voice (like Danny La Rue) warbles 'I'm a Chap with a Chip on His Shoulder' while tapping his shoulders. Why would a female impersonator deliberately call attention to his shoulders? (Elsewhere, some genuinely female chorines sing about 'The Crack of Dawn' ... is there a pattern here?) The 1940s seem to have been some golden age for drag, since women's fashions in that decade favoured padded shoulders, enabling transvestites to receive by with linebacker clavicles. During one stage in this movie, Frances Langford's outfit has wider shoulders than Johnny Downs's! Some of the clothes on the (real) females in this film are extremely attractive. However, Johnny Downs's stunt double (likewise in female garb), who shoulder-flips Noah Beery Jnr, is even less convincingly feminine than Downs.Considering that Bob Sheppard (Downs) is trying to pass for female, he makes some weird decisions ... such as selecting the tomboy name 'Bobbie' rather than a genuine female alias. (Femalias?) Even more fatally, he fakes a dainty swoon in the presence of Noah Beery Jnr and Alan Hale Jnr ... but deliberately falls into Beery's arms, letting Beery search out how massive 'she' is. Oh, and Downs gets to speak that line (mandatory dialogue in each drag comedy) about how it 'sure feels good' to receive out of those female clothes ... so we don't receive any, erm, ideas.Johnny Downs was apparently unable to speak in a convincing female register, so 'Bobbie' pretends to have laryngitis. Downs could have used the trick that professional female impersonators use: practise speaking with only the upper half of his vocal cords, so that his voice will be in the female range and timbre with fewer overtones. There are quite a several double entendres in the dialogue and lyrics. Somebody comments that Johnny Downs (in female disguise) looks like 'orchids covered in dew'. Did anyone connected with this film check the origin of the word 'orchid'? The women's school is cried Mar Brynn, an obvious parody of Bryn Mawr. I wonder if anyone realised that 'Bryn Mawr' is Welsh for 'big breast'.Harry Langdon has his greatest role (and gives his greatest performance) of his talkies career here, as a glib publicist, while Esther Dale is lumbered with the role of the headmistress who doesn't twig that "Bobbie" (with male jawline and falsetto voice) is a male, even when 'she' goes to bed in full make-up. Memo to all headmistresses: when a female student shows up at your boarding school with only one piece of luggage, she's no female.Downs (in male garb) and Langford 'meet cute' in a surprisingly erotic stage with a bellrope. (He ain't done right by our knell.) I should have done without dialogue like 'A woman doesn't wish to live in a mind; she wants to live with a husband.' Also annoying are Kent Rogers's alleged impersonations of celebrities, including (just before the fade-out, in voice-over) Jerry Colonna. Black performer Dudley Dickerson is stuck in a 'yassuh' role but at least he gets to slash loose with some dance steps. Less pleasant is a stage in which Downs 'haunts' black laundress Lillian Randolph.Somehow, this impoverished all-female college devoted to 'horticulture' (oh, dear) manages to scene an elaborate musical with plenty of invisible musicians on the soundtrack, some wince-worthy lyrics, plus Downs doing some surprisingly graceful pirouettes. However, the photography and lighting throughout the movie are excellent, especially during Langford's large number ... which includes a patriotic reference, possibly leading audiences in 1941 to wonder why all these large powerful college men are in frocks instead of uniforms. 'All-American Co-Ed' gets my rating of 8 out of 10. Actually place your trousers on, lads.
Got my Mill Creek Entertainment DVD collection of "20 Film Package Musicals" and decided to watch the second shortest picture in there named All-American Co-Ed which clocks in at 49 minutes. This was one of Hal Roach's "streamliners" which were too long for a short but too short to now be named a feature. It's basically a musical comedy about a boy from Quinceton (former silent Our Ganger Johnny Downs) infiltrating a women college named Mar Brynn in drag. You'll have to watch the film to see why. Anyway, this was an amusingly silly fluff piece that could deliever interest to fanatics of Harry Langdon, Frances Langford, Noah Beery, Jr., Alan Hale, Jr. (yes, the future Skipper of "Gilligan's Island"), Dudley Dickerson (an occasional Three Stooges helping actor testing the stereotypical porter role but also getting to do some entertaining singing and dancing), and, since I everytime like to identify any user from my favourite movie, It's a Unbelievable Life, Lillian Randolph. The last one has the unfortunate task of testing someone who's afraid of ghosts and thinks one has inhabited her laundry room but the segment is so over-the-top that one can't receive too offended. Since this film was made during the Production Code, there are some mild double entendre jokes that I found amusing. There's also some funny slapstick humor that got me in stitches such as what happens to the Beery and Hale characters. There's also other guy, Kent Rogers, who does some nice celebrity impersonations like that of Gary Cooper as well as Edger Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Among the entertaining songs is one that got an Oscar nomination named "Out of the Silence" with words and melody by Lloyd B. Norlind, sung by Langford with a chorus of girls behind her. There's also a couple of enjoyable numbers by a forgotten trio named The Tanner Sisters. Like I said, the entire thing is fluff that doesn't everytime create sense but if you have an hour to fill, you won't be bored with All-American Co-Ed. P.S. Roach's son, Hal, Jr. made up the storyline and his daughter Margaret plays one of the co-eds.
What? this movie is 65 years old? It plays like a sequel to PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT or a prequel to SOME LIKE IT HOT. Apart from WONDERBAR I have never seen such a gay movie...in fact the advertisement line in 1941 (!) was "The year's gayest comedy" . It is gay in the method gay is a modern GAY expression. The head of the women school, a single matronly sort, (keen to rub one girl's 'chest') takes a look at a pic of one woman posing with vegetables and exclaims "Look at those pretty tomatoes!" and on it goes. There's a song on a train that the women sing to every other: "I am up at the crack of Dawn (because I have been dreaming of you)".. Honestly! Rude risqué and trust it or not, a full scale drag queen comedy. Apparently there is a university named Quinceton (as in Princeton for Queens) which has a fraternity of nice lookin' fellas who all do drag. See that opening scene: They're all in it! Tutus and all... They decide to send one guy to the women school...in full drag.... The large finale has a song in it about how the Farmer's daughter is alone on the farm since the boys have gone to war. The lyric repeated over and over is that "she's can't just rumba with an old cucumber"...... it's not just ME is it ?...hearing this and gasping in laughter and astonishment? Is it? Why are these lyrics in this movie this way.. and all the drag antics.... this movie is as modern today as any another drag film... and as rude. This gay coded one sidestepped the Hayes office in a dress... and an old cucumber. Hilarious! the DVD is perfect quality too. The melody score is terrific: 2 Oscar noms. Because the DVD is spotless this movie looks like a fresh production; and the modern risqué mindset makes it absolutely almost up to date. What also supports is the cast of 20 somethings ...especially the men every of whom have modern haircuts. Noah Beery Jnr turns up late in the movie styled exactly like someone you would see in a magazine today. Incredible;a 65 year old drag show! yeesh! Silent star Harry Langdon is a treat to see too.
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