Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 7:30pm
Vincente Minnelli's I Dood It
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
I Dood It, Vincente Minnelli, 1943, 16mm, 102 mins
Introduced by Gina Telaroli
In 1943, following his success with Cabin in the Sky, Vincente Minnelli was “rewarded” by being given a film that another director, Roy Del Ruth, had abandoned. That movie, much to Minnelli’s dismay, was a “Why is this being made?” remake of Buster Keaton’s 1929 Spite Marriage starring Red Skelton. Entitled I Dood It, it promised to be a clunky vehicle, full of Skelton’s trademark humor (the titular phrase coming from his radio program), Eleanor Powell’s dancing (in her last headlining role for MGM), and a paper-thin plot. But despite this, and the fact that some of the material had already been shot, Minnelli took the reins tightly and began to fashion a uniquely strange picture, an almost indefinable hybrid.
The hybrid work is no stranger to film culture, and these days is all the rage on the prestigious festival circuit. Filmmakers and critics alike wax poetic about how films are finally transcending genre and structural expectations while operating outside of the restrictions of movie studios. I Dood It, like many films before it, challenges that specific outlook, making it clear that hybrid films have existed for decades—and sometimes, as in this case, emerged precisely because of the constraints and business models of the Hollywood system.
Never content with being ordinary, even in the context of the bizarre, Minnelli here goes beyond the blending of genre, instead yielding a true battle of sensibilities and a smashing together of tone. The ultimate upheaval comes in the second half of the picture with an inexplicable musical number-cum-duel between Hazel Scott and Cabin in the Sky’s Lena Horne. The number is all Minnelli, featuring jaw-dropping camerawork and performances that, once seen, are permanently etched in your mind. Combining glamour with shtick, as well as two very different senses of timing—Skelton’s comedy with Minnelli’s musical—I Dood It emerges as a mind-boggling, hypnotizing, one-of-a-kind film that will cause you to laugh and smile all the way through. I know I dood. - GT
Gina Telaroli is a filmmaker, critic, programmer, and the video archivist at Sikelia Productions. Her new feature Here's to the Future! will premiere later in December at Migrating Forms.
Special thanks to Jake Perlin.
Tickets - $7, available at door.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.