Matilda (1978)

MATILDA (1978)
Article 3559 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-20-2011
Posting Date: 5-13-2011
Directed by Daniel Mann
Featuring Elliott Gould, Clive Revill, Harry Guardino
Country: USA
What it is: A movie where you can be confident that no animals were hurt during its making

A down-and-out show business agent gets his chance to hit the big time when he discovers the world’s best boxing kangaroo.

So why am I covering this comedy that seems fairly light on fantastic content? It’s listed in John Stanley’s “Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again” with the explanation that once you see the man-in-a-kangaroo suit hopping down the street, you’ll realize the movie is pure fantasy. That’s a bit of a stretch, but I do see what he’s getting at; Matilda’s first appearance simply destroys any credibility this movie could have garnered. I’m not sure why this is; I’ve seen so many men-in-gorilla-suits and in other monster costumes that it seems odd that a man in a kangaroo suit should be so fatally unbelievable, but it is. It doesn’t help that the movie has the soul of a not very good Disney shopping cart movie (albeit one that is slightly more adult) and that its attempts to be meaningful towards the end only make the movie seem that much more ridiculous. Yet, for all this, it would simply be a not very good movie had not the man-in-a-kangaroo-costume made it seem even worse. On the plus side, the movie has Robert Mitchum, who seems to be able to come out of anything with his dignity intact.

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