Sunday, February 23, 2014

"Lemonade Joe" (1963)

Ah yes, Cold War Czechoslovakia's Greatest Singing Cowboy Anti Coca-Cola Movie! In fact, "Lemonade Joe" started out as a series of short stories goofing on the ubiquitous soft drink Coca Cola from local humorist Jiří Brdečka (himself a frequent collaborator with pre-Steampunk film director, Karel Zeman) which defaulted out to a animated film, stage play and finally a motion picture in 1964. Impossibly straitlaced Teetotaler cowboy hero "Lemonade Joe" rides into the drunken western town of Stetson City to break the grip of Demon Rum. But is he a comical abstinence hero on horseback...or the agent of a certain pushy soft drink corporation? We tend to forget these days that the stolid Bolsheviki of the Warsaw Pact could indeed get as campy and zany as they liked, as long as they made fun of the "Imperialists". And who else to direct a film like this but Oldrich Lipsky, as dependable a director of comedies as could be tolerated by a totalitarian system? He was certainly adept at parodying officially proscribed western genres...westerns later on Lipsky would take a swipe at horror films and the detective genre. Ah but the rules were looser in Czechoslovakia,mostly because then Partei Secretary Dubchek was trying to give "socialism a human face"...his efforts didn't stand up for long though. Moreover like East Germany, Czechoslovakia was a "front line states" and under some ideological pressure from NATO...they had to come up with product that pushed back against the western zeitgeist. Thus..."Lemonade Joe" a film that used the western genre (itself an American Creation) as a means to satirize the Marxist Bugaboo of Corporate Imperialism. And again, it's just fascinating to me, to see millions of hours of particular entertainment genres beamed out into the world from the USA, genres that bounced off various nationalities and came back to us "homaged" and or "revised"....this time as Marxist Propaganda. Anyway this is Channel Zero's next screening...check it out tell your friends...A Communist Cowboy Movie! "Lemonade Joe" (1964) Friday February 28th 8pm (Sharp!) The Somerville Theatre, Micro Cinema 55 Davis Square Somerville Ma Admission $8 (Cheap!) Check out our fanpage on Facebook! By The Way, We've been told this particular film hasn't played in Boston since it's original run at the Brattle Theatre in the 1960's!