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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Sex > Teens > Party > Music > Pop > Rock > Backstage Musical > Bachelor Party (1984/Fox Blu-ray)/The Cool Ones (1967/Warner Archive DVD)

Bachelor Party (1984/Fox Blu-ray)/The Cool Ones (1967/Warner Archive DVD)

Picture: C+/C Sound: B-/C+ Extras: C/D Films: C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Cool Ones is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Here are two teen comedies that are time capsules of their times; both part of the same counterculture wave...

Neal Israel's Bachelor Party (1984) has the then-always-comical Tom Hanks (versus the award-winning serious one we have now) trying to build on his Bosom Buddies success in a comedy where he is about to marry Tawny Kitean (who would usually play the gal AT the title event) but madness ensues. From the end of the Animal House wave of such comedies, it has some amusing moments, but was never a favorite. It is also Adrian Zmed's other big screen movie (besides cult item Grease 2) he did that people forget in the celebrated ugliness that is the awful TV hit T.J. Hooker.

Director Israel and Pat Proft (both of Police Academy) co-wrote this near cult item that did some business in its time, but Proft fared better with the original Naked Gun films and both penned their comic masterwork in Martha Coolidge's Real Genius (1985, still not out on Blu-ray) so this is mostly a hit and miss work. It is also a curio with an at least more naturalistic Hanks before his hit & miss later years, respectability or not. Bosom Buddies alumni Wendie Jo Sperber and Michael Dudikoff also star.

Extras include the Original Theatrical Trailer, a few minutes of vintage interviews, two vintage clips from the Electronic Press Kit and a promo clip that takes the film far too seriously.

Gene Nelson's The Cool Ones (1967) makes for a fun idea that does not necessarily work out, but makes for an odd time capsule that was not a hit in its time, but more than a mere curio everyone ought to look at for what is tried here. Add the talent involved and what was tired here and it is worth revisiting. Potential star (Gil Peterson) is a singer whose caught up in stupid music contract ideas that make him prefabricated and unhappy, though a dancer and singer (Debbie Watson) is trying to get her big on-camera TV break and the two start to fall for each other. A wild record producer (Roddy McDowall) suddenly shows up and might be able to change all that, if he were not so eccentric.

This could be an outright comedy, but has all kinds of music performances beyond any with the characters on stage or on TV, making it a backstage musical. However, the style is also often in the mode of the hit operetta musical The Umbrella Of Cherbourg (1964, reviewed elsewhere on this site), but looking like the pre-Music Video Scopitones of the time (attention Eddie Vedder) with all of their plastique oddness. But it does not end there. The TV show in question is a send up of dance shows like Hullabaloo and Shindig (Teri Garr even shows up uncredited, though friend & choreographer/dancer Toni Basil (later of the 1982 hit Mickey) does not even get credit for her work here). Phil Harris shows up and the music acts include Glenn Campbell, T.J & The Fourmations, The Leaves, The Forte Four and The Bantams (with more talent there than you might first think, I love it when McDowell's character is ready to book the Whiskey-A-Go-Go) plus all the musical numbers are written and composed by Lee Hazlewood (who wrote most of Nancy Sinatra's hits; This Town in this film later became a hit for Frank Sinatra!) and arranged by Billy Strange (whose hits include A Little Less Conversation, Memories (both hits for Elvis), These Boots Were Made For Walking for Nancy Sinatra and Limbo Rock).

So what went wrong? The script is all over the place, the music interrupts the narrative instead of forwarding it and talent like Phil Arnold and Nita Talbot (as McDowell's assistant) is underutilized throughout. We land up getting a series of missed opportunities and a film that did not learn the lessons The Beatles two feature films or why the Hollywood Musical was in decline at this point. Yet, it is a good-looking, amusing, strange affair that I think will eventually have some kind of cult following. Robert Kaufmann, who co-adapted this into a film with the director from Joyce Geller's story and script, is part of the reason, had penned Dr. Goldfoot & The Girl Bombs for Mario Bava, then moved on to pen an episode of The Monkees, Divorce American Style, Getting Straight, Freebie & The Bean and Love At First Bite. It is a mixed but distinctive style of humor that does not always cohere with its narratives, which is actually a talent, but does not necessarily help the film. See The Cool Ones for yourself to see what I mean.

There are sadly no extras, but this deserves a few.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 38 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer on Party can show the age of the materials used, but someone has toyed with the image, leading to subtle degrading of the film as a result. Color can be good, yet can look a little off or fake at times. The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Cool is less manipulated, was shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision and issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints of which this copy often reflects, though it has more soft spots than I would have liked. The Director of Photography Floyd Crosby (Black Zoo, X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes, The Snow Creature, plus several beach movies and Roger Corman films) uses the widescreen frame to much of its full extent, never being TV safe. However, Crosby was the father of musician David Crosby, so that only adds to the cool/groovy factor.

Both films were theatrical mono releases, with Cool issued here in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono and not sounding bad for it age, but you'd think this one would have been issued in stereo somehow. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Party is a little better, one of the last major non-Woody Allen theatrical films not in stereo of some kind. Both show some datedness, but Party sounds marginally if not outright better.

To order The Cool Ones, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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