When I watch old movies, I always wonder how the master of the genre, Stanley Myers, managed to get the cast and crew together to make one of his masterful creations. The old man must have had a very good sense of vision when he planned to produce a lighthearted comedy about a group of misfits who travel across the country in a rickshaw truck and stumble upon a vaudeville nightclub. The movie that came out of this collaboration of Myers and the Coens is known as Peanuts. While the movie is just a lighthearted spoof on the vaudeville industry, the underlying story of how the two masters of the form came up with their script is a little bit strange and interesting.
In this movie, Charlie the rat (John Belushi) is forced to babysit his elderly uncle. Charlie is having a rough time adjusting to his Uncle’s old-time style of medicine and his Uncle is not too happy with his attitude. But when old timers Daphne (Sally Field) and Olive (Janeane Kelly) move into the home, they end up causing chaos in the household. When Charlie realizes that his Uncle is addicted to cold medicines, he lets everyone know about it, even threatening to have their wives arrested for poisoning him.
When Charlie realizes how much money he is losing due to his addiction to cold medicine, he decides that he needs to quit the job at the local hotel where he works, but when his boss won’t let him, he decides to rob the hotel in order to pay for the drugs he needs to buy. However, when he enters the hotel room and finds that everything in there has been left untouched, he realizes that he has to rob the place in order to get the money that is owed to him. After robbing the establishment, Charlie runs into Linus (Gaspar Collie), an escaped former pharmaceutical drug addict, who agrees to help Charlie with his robbing scheme.
Wes Anderson directs this adaptation of the novel as if it were written by a kid who is trying to adapt an original screenplay. The movie is very funny, and the acting is great. Anderson manages to create an ensemble cast, which is the key to a successful comedy. No one feels stuck with one role, and each character is given enough screen time to be given depth. Anderson also has the skill to make the screenplay completely entertaining, and the pace never slows down.
If you like old movies that have a touch of humor, then Old Yeller should be on your list. It’s one of those rare films from the 80’s that is completely devoid of any dialogue, and the only thing it’s lacking in is a catchy song. This is evident from the trailers for the movie, which give no away what the movie is about. In addition, the storyline is interesting and the story is told in a fast moving fashion. The main theme of the movie, which happens to be pharmaceuticals run amuck, is an excellent premise for a comedy movie.
Old Yeller is directed by George C. Scott, who is perhaps best known for his work on television shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, but he brings this directorial debut to us in a truly amazing movie. The movie is charming and hilarious. It’s worth seeing just for the wonderful performances by the main actors, especially Ed Harris and John Lithgow. Don’t miss out on watching one of the better old movies, or movie memorabilia, that’s available. Trust me, you won’t regret it!