(Selig Usher, 1983)
Usher gets director credit because Mr. Smithee was tied up that month; this movie was in fact removed from the creative ministrations of George McCowan by producer Zale Magder. McCowan is not the most reliable craftsman around, but compared to Magder he's Orson Welles. And speak of the devil, Welles himself shows up for several scenes as the sheriff, and in a quite hilarious turn of events is drunker than you can possibly imagine. It looks like he passed the bottle around, too; the entire movie proceeds at a disoriented, glassy-eyed stagger. Forensic study would turn up evidence that this script is supposed to be a comedy, but with subplots and seemingly pivotal characters evaporating left and right, the matter is strictly academic. The production shows comparable levels of virtuosity: lights glaring in the windows, long seconds of silence interrupted with blaring incidental music, random dialogue surgically grafted in crude simulation of flashback, several dialogue setups where the reverse shot seems to have been lost at the lab, agonizing wasted seconds ticking away at the end of every scene in an effort to pad the running time to 78 minutes. About the only incidents of note are one exploding VW and Bobby "Boris" Pickett singing "Feelings". In short, this is without question one of the worst films I have ever seen, and not in a fun way either. But let's give credit where credit is due: as a baldly craven money-laundering plot, this is a real triumph. Zale threw his own post house some much-needed work, he got to meet Orson Welles, and he bankrolled a completely useless trip to the Bahamas with his buddies, all for a measly four million bucks. Who am I to argue with success?