Friday, August 30, 2013

THE RAINBOW THIEF (1990) -
Alejandro Jodorowsky


If only the above image were representative of the entirety of The Rainbow Thief. Sadly, it's only representative of the first five minutes. The film starts out on firm Jodorowsky footing. Christopher Lee plays an eccentric millionaire with a fondness for stripper/prostitutes and an even stronger fondness for his prized pooches. The dogs sit at the dinner table with him in chairs and are served nothing but caviar. Everyone else gets bones. But when Lee has a near-fatal heart attack, throwing the fate of his inheritance into a tizzy, the movie also goes into a sort of cardiac arrest. It turns into a family-friendly Peter O'Toole / Omar Sharif buddy movie directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Who would have thought such a thing was possible?

Having read up on AJ's trials and tribulations with the Salkind family of producers and Peter O'Toole ("I hate him! I hate him!") beforehand, I went into The Rainbow Thief knowing it was going to be a bit of a letdown. I also went in knowing the YouTube version would be muddy and lacking, as decent copies are hard of Thief are hard to come by. It didn't help that most of the movie takes place in sewer tunnels underground. At times, it felt like watching an airline-edited Terry Gilliam film through a thin blindfold or reading Dickens through a heavy scrim. Whatever it was, it wasn't the Jodorowsky I knew and loved. There was the occasional dwarf, the occasional giant, the occasional bit of off-beat surrealist magic, and Peter O'Toole DOES communicate through the head of a dead dog. But Jodorowsky in the sewers of Poland? His name might make more sense there, but the location (and story) is an ill fit.

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