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Bookmark and Share HELLZAPOPPIN'

Average Rating:     [6.50/10]   3 votes


Universal purchased the film rights to Ole Olsen's and Chic Johnson's Broadway hit HELLZAPOPPIN' (1938 - 1941), an 'anything-goes' revue of non-stop jokes and sight gags... with some minor conditions that included the introduction of musical numbers, a linear storyline, and a romantic subplot. Olsen and Johnson complied, and with the help of screenwriter Nat Perrin, lampooned everything that Universal wanted.

The filmed insanity of HELLZAPOPPIN' is unacceptable to the director (Richard Lane), so Ole and Chic break the fourth wall of reality with the help of projectionist Louie (Shemp Howard), and screen an imaginery film with the requisite studio demands. Louie and his film projector control the goings-on around Ole & Chic, with reality-altering complications provided by his fat, short-tempered girlfriend in the projection booth.

Rich Kitty Rand loves struggling stage producer Jeff Hunter, and Jeff's new high-class production of orchestral music and ballet will premiere at a society affair on her parent's vast estate. Kitty's parents disapprove of Jeff and want her to marry dim-witted playboy Woody Taylor. Jeff's partners Olsen & Johnson bring their inspired insanity to the Rand estate, along with Chic's man-hungry sister Betty (Martha Raye), and Jeff's ballet star Pepi (Mischa Auer), a phony, exiled Russian Prince. Betty's late night pursuit of Pepi launches a series of misunderstandings, leading O&J to conclude that Kitty has fallen for Pepi. The comics decide that Jeff's honor is worth more than the success of the show, so Chic and Ole set out to sabotage the premiere, resulting in... HELLZAPOPPIN'! Throughout it all, zany master-of-disguise PI Quimby (Hugh Herbert) plays the Greek chorus, wandering through scenes with a series of trademark 'hoo hoo's' and nonsensical observations.

Don't worry, none of this is supposed to make sense... it's HELLZAPOPPIN!

IMDb Rating


Shemp Howard (Solo)
Release Date
December 26, 1941
Production Type
Feature Film
84 min.
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Production Notes   (1)
Shooting Days:   41 days   From: 1941-06-23   To: 1941-08-09

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Fan Reviews   (3)
Posted 2010-02-25 15:38:45 by JazzBill
The movie starts out fast and furious with a interesting Devil dance scene Then you get constant one liners and sight gags. It eventually slows down a bit but never completely stalls. There are a few familiar faces and gags. There isn't a lot of Shemp but there is a lot of Martha Raye. To be honest she was a pretty talanted actress. She could sing, dance and she wasn't too bad looking in her younger days. She reminded me of a Judy Garland on speed. I also enjoyed the swing dancing in the middle of the movie peformed by Whiteys Lindy Hoppers. (Billed as Harlem Congeroo Dancers) All in all, I enjoyed the movie.

Reviewer's Rating: (9)
Posted 2001-05-09 12:26:00 by BeAStooge
Not as hilarious as "Crazy House," but a very funny Olsen and Johnson classic with Shemp and Martha Raye.

Reviewer's Rating: (7)
Posted 2001-02-16 22:17:00 by sickdrjoe
This was the showcase vehicle of a now-forgotten comedy team called Olsen & Johnson (Shemp also appears in their CRAZY HOUSE two years later). Most who've seen it agree that it's terrible.Years later, Jerry Lewis attempted to revive this on Broadway.

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