Ok, I’m not trying to start any sort of argument here between the Cult of Apple and the PC crowd. Use whatever the heck kind of computer you want, what do I care! But I gotta say, there are times when I find the Mac users worship of all things Apple to be a bit disturbing. I guess I couldn’t help think of that when today’s movie featured a musical number in which a bunch of Solid Gold Dancer wannabes jiggle around and seem to worship an apple. The film, from 1979, is called, oddly enough, “The Apple.”
The film is a bizarre disco musical religious movie. It takes place in the far off futuristic society of 1994 where a strange musical group known as The BIM seems to control everything. BIM stands for Boogalow International Music and is run by the Satan-esque Mr. Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal). As the film opens, The BIM is just about to win a huge international song festival. The winner is chosen by monitoring the heart rate of the audience members, and Boogalow has the contest rigged. But, he almost loses the competition when a young folksinging couple, Alphie (George Gilmour) and Bibi (Catherine Mary Stewart), get a surprisingly strong reaction from the crowd. To ensure victory, Boogalow has to unleash some sort of sonic wave which causes the audience to boo them off the stage.
Still, Boogalow knows an opportunity when he sees one. So, he arranges a meeting with the couple in order to sign them up as the latest BIM celebrities. Bibi is eager to sign up, but Alphie is suspicious. Just as he is about to sign, he imagines himself and Bibi in a hell like environment being lured with an apple a la Adam and Eve. Alphie ends up leaving Boogalow’s office, but Bibi signs up and becomes an overnight star.
Alphie doesn’t give up on Bibi, though. He tries to save her from Boogalow. One particularly strange scene occurs when he tries to find Bibi at a party and ends up being whisked away by another BIM singer, Pandi (Grace Kennedy), who tries to seduce him. She belts out a song called “Coming,” which you may have guessed is drenched in double entendres. But Pandi ends up being not so bad and she eventually helps Bibi escape so she can live under a bridge with Alphie and a bunch of hippies. Now, if you really don’t want to know the ending I’ll say “Spoiler Alert” here, but it’s too hilarious not to share. When Boogalow and his minions come to get Bibi and arrest all the hippies, a guy in a white suit named Mr. Topps (Joss Ackland) suddenly appears in his flying car and whisks everyone off to start life on a new planet.
“The Apple” must be seen to be believed. You need only see the opening number to get a pretty good idea of the levels of bizarre you’re in for. Though the film is set in the US, it was filmed in West Berlin…and we end up with a unique mix of international performers. George Gilmour’s character, Alphie, is supposed to be from Moose Jaw, Canada…when he doesn’t seem to be sleepwalking he’s the most European sounding Canadian ever. Catherine Mary Stewart, who really is Canadian, at least gives an energetic performance when she’s lip synching someone else’s vocals. Strangest of all has to be Vladek Sheybal as Mr. Boogalow. The character is basically supposed to be the devil, and the Polish actor does end up looking devilish, but he’s also very hard to understand and definitely didn’t sell his soul for a singing voice. Actually, even stranger may be Joss Ackland’s short appearance. He plays both the leader of the hippies and the God-like Mr. Topps. It took me awhile to realize that he’s the evil apartheid dude who shouts “diplomatic immunity” in “Lethal Weapon 2”
“The Apple” is bad, really bad! Great googly moogly it’s bad! Everything about the movie is so incredibly gaudy…not just pushing the barriers of what can be considered good taste, but bludgeoning it to death with a sledgehammer. This is no better illustrated than in Grace Kennedy’s song, “Coming.” This is perhaps the dirtiest moment you will ever encounter in PG rated film. My eyes still burn.
But, having said all that, the movie is also very entertaining…in that bizarre way that only the worst of worst can achieve. Laughter is good for soul, and this movie certainly made me laugh. I can at least give it credit for that.