Sunday, February 23, 2014

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING (1966)

Capitalizing on the Cold War paranoid of the time, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING tells the story of a Soviet sub that accidentally runs aground while the captain was innocently sightseeing along the coast of a small New England island.  Stuck like Chuck the captain sends 9 sailors onshore to get a boat big enough to pull the sub off the sandbar.  Almost immediately they're spotted and their presence understandably causes quite a ruckus.

Seeing as TRACTRAC was written by the same guy who wrote IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD just a few years earlier and even stars a few of the same people I mistakenly thought that it was going to be the same over-the-top insanity that Mad World was, but no.  This movie was dead in the water right from the very beginning.  The jokes are all tired and flat, the ending is completely unbelievable, Jonathan Winters is wasted, Brian Keith has nothing to work with, none of the Russians have any character and the townsfolk are all morons.  Unfunny morons that clutter up the screen running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  And that kid at the church!  Oh my god the excessive sentimentality of that scene almost killed me.

According to the DVD special features this film caused quite a stir when it came out (it was the #8 box office draw for 1966 and received four Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture!!!) but I honestly have a hard time seeing what the excitement was about.  I say skip it.  If you need me I'll be in my room watching DR. STRANGELOVE.