Sunday, August 30, 2009
Top Secret!; comedy, USA, 1984; D: Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, S: Val Kilmer, Lucy Gutteridge, Jeremy Kemp, Christopher Villiers, Eddie Tagoe, Omar Sharif, Peter Cushing
In order to divert the attention of the world from their planned move against the NATO exercise, the East Germans organize and host a concert of the famous rock idol from the USA, Nick Rivers. But when he helps a girl in trouble, Hilary, a member of the resistance, he gets thrown in prison but escapes and joins her. But she also meets her old love, Nigel, the leader of the resistance. As their group liberates Hilary's father, a famous scientist, from prison, it turns out Nigel is a traitor. Still, they manage and Hilary flies off to safety.
"Top Secret!" phenomenally distinguishes itself from other parodies of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker trio. Even their other (earlier) films carry their typical humor, but it was never so excellently blended with masterful comic direction, rhythm of the story and passionate details like here. All scenes are a fantastic fun - the viewers are so glued to the screen that they can only feel pity that they are not a part of the movie - while some jokes literally cause stomach pain. They deliberately mixed up the 40s and 50s, the Nazi era and the era of East Germany, but since this a parody of World War II films set in its own universe, it works either way. The scene of the fight under water and the visit to the library with Peter Cushing where every movement is filmed in reverse even today cause amazement of the technique with which they were filmed. Some crude bits of humor and innuendo are bothersome, but whenever they are childishly naive the film is a blast and enjoys cult status (and the German dub is even funnier). "Top Secret" is arguably even the best parody in the career of the trio: the jokes with the cow in the boots or Chocolate Mousse throwing a grappling hook that accidentally also grabs his colleague and throws him up to the wall are hilarious as ever.