Looking Backward: Sh! The Octopus (1937)

7 Jul


Sh! The Octopus is reputed to be one of the worst films of all time. It isn’t. It’s an absolute mess, but it seems at least to have low expectations, which makes it a far less disgraceful mess than, say, The Lone Ranger.

There was, we must remember, a day before YouTube, before television, when these little nuggets came out week by week and only needed to Do No Harm. Impressive that of all the celluloid lost or destroyed over the years, this has survived. But there’s a charm to all the nonsense that, put in the context of the Marxes and Ritzes and Howards working regularly at the time, isn’t as crazy as it may seem. Everyone involved seems to take pleasure in this kookery they’ve been paid to indulge in. (Plus, there’s that cool scene with the old lady and her “transformation.” Nicely done.)

My only regret at spending an hour with this lovely little wreck is that I wasn’t tipsier. I don’t think anyone in the cast would be insulted by that…

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