Cas­tle’s in the air

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 1993 | PG | Blu-ray & dVd (dual-for­mat)

Direc­tor Joe dante Cast John Good­man, Cathy Mo­ri­arty, si­mon Fen­ton, Omri Katz

Ever hap­pily wasted time brows­ing ’50s sci-fi trail­ers on YouTube? Then Joe Dante’s nos­tal­gia-fest should give you a warm glow.

Set in Florida in 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Cri­sis, it fol­lows mon­ster-mad kid Gene as cigar-chomp­ing show­man Lawrence Woolsey (John Good­man) ar­rives in town to pro­mote his lat­est atom-age shocker Mant!.

With Woolsey a stand-in for self-pub­li­cis­ing Hol­ly­wood huck­sters like Wil­liam Cas­tle, it’s a film that cel­e­brates a long-lost world of lurid front-of-house standees and shame­less gim­mickry. The pe­riod is lov­ingly evoked, with all the right clothes, cars and pop hits. And the glimpses of Mant! are hi­lar­i­ously well-ob­served spoofery.

All that’s miss­ing is a com­pelling sto­ry­line, in­stead of an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of mi­nor in­ci­dent. Con­sid­er­ing that Gene’s dad is away helping block­ade the Russkies, it’s a film of sur­pris­ingly lit­tle emo­tional im­pact. Slight, then… but still ut­terly charm­ing.

Ex­tras Two fea­turettes quiz firstly Dante-reg­u­lar ac­tors, then the DOP and edi­tor on work­ing with him (18 min­utes); 31-minute chat with Dante; Mant! in full (16 min­utes), with in­tro; eight min­utes of time­coded be­hind-the-scenes footage; a vin­tage promo; a trailer; book­let. Ian Ber­ri­man

“Lawrence Woolsey” is a nod to Lawrence Wool­ner, co-owner of the com­pany that dis­trib­uted At­tack Of The 50 Foot Woman.

The new face of Cad­bury’s Flake was un­ex­pected.

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