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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Literature > Western > TV > Mystery Science Theater 3000: Hamlet (1961 German TV version) + Gunslinger (1956/Shout! Factory DVDs)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Hamlet (1961 German TV version) + Gunslinger (1956/Shout! Factory DVDs)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Main Programs: A



The latest arrivals in Shout Factory’s continuing MST3K releases include two episodes pulled from different eras of the show’s long run.  Gunslinger (1956) offers another glimpse into the mad mind of schlock director Roger Corman, and Joel and the ‘Bots must endure every awkward moment!  This one features sleep-walking performances from Beverly Garland and John Ireland, along with a “Western” town so flimsily built that a stiff Texas wind might blow it over! 


As with many MST3K features, the skits in between the time spent watching the bad movie can be every bit as funny as the running commentary.  After a weirdly shot funeral scene in the movie, Joel and the ‘Bots create coffins for themselves and take a moment to muse about the nature of their own deaths.  Of course, Crow T. Robot quickly points out that robots can’t die, but Joel sure can.  Joel quips that the ‘Bots have no souls!  The combination of Roger Corman and MST3K once again works its comedy magic.


Mike Nelson takes to the Satellite of Love theater in the 1961 German television version of Hamlet, a somewhat clipped and halting adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.  With Maximilian Schell in the starring roll, this one should have been better, but having won the right to pick their movie, Mike and the ‘Bots were subjected to this rough version instead of the Olivier production that they had asked for.  Weird costumes and halting performances give the lads plenty of grist for the comic mill, and in one of the skits, Tom and Crow struggle to find an actual dead relative of Mike’s to use to re-enact the ghost scenes from the play.  Of course, all of the relatives named are alive and kicking, and working bizarre jobs in various parts of Minnesota. 


These discs are “bare bones”, no extras included.  For folks who missed out on the show they’ll provide an affordable way to sample episodes, while giving longtime fans the ability to add more MST3K content to their collections.



-   Scott Pyle


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