Marjoe expresses the pain of watching this film
Mausoleum is the type of bad movie that makes you lose friends. Seriously, who needs to see a horror film with a 5 minute gardening sequence! Forget that this film had Marjoe Gortner in it. Forget that he dies a spectacular death. Forget that it has LaWanda Page of Sanford & Son and Laff Records fame. Forget that she’s playing a wildly racist stereotype. Forget that Playboy Bunny Bobbie Bresee bears her upper assets. Forget that she’s a bat-shit crazy house-wife possessed by an ancient demon that forces her to seduce men only to kill them after she gets upset by their advances. Forget that this film even has demonic boobies. Yes, demonic boobies!
You can try to forget all these wild aspects of this rather slap-dash, gutter-quality movie. What you will not be able to forget is that the film takes a break from building suspense to provide the audience with a clunky montage of landscaping and gardening. Why?
Big thanks to my longtime friend Don of Schlockmania. I’ll forever question your personal recommendations.
You can’t have it both ways. R.P.M. wants to be both a counter-culture picture and a re-affirmation of traditional values. Anthony Quinn, a liberal college professor, is positioned between the old guard administration and a radical student faction. His character serves as pragmatic voice that sympathizes with the anarchistic idealism of the student demonstrators and respects the traditions and heritage of academic learning institutions enough to see that they are not changed, not destroyed.
After the University’s president resigns Quinn is selected to fill the position. He is chosen because it is believed that he can speak to the dissenting youth in terms they understand. At first Quinn believes he can dissolve the situation by putting into play the theories of revolution and peaceful conflict resolution he has been teaching in the classrooms. What he finds is that he cannot serve two masters. He is forced to both defend his image as a free-thinking, peace-minded progressive, while protecting a conservative establishment, as well as his own job. Quinn’s is a calming voice stuck in a mad situation.
Sadly Quinn’s character is presented as something of a child quickly forced to grow up and accept supposed realities. At the start of the film he’s positioned as stereotypical liberal arts professor. He has evolved, but untested, theories of how the world could be better, though we never really get to hear them. We do get to see him sleeping with undergrads, being loved by his students and misunderstood by the administrators. When he’s put into a position of power, his quaint little bubble pops and the tables turn on him.
R.P.M. serves as an interesting study of a man forced to rethinking his core beliefs. It also attempts to be a message to both sides of an argument. To the establishment it asks for a bending of the knee, an understanding that the times they are a changing. To the youth, it cautions them with a series of reminders: Idealism is no replacement for experience. Moderate change is more plausible than sweeping change. Those is power will use power to retain power. In all, these are rather conservative ideas.
Director Stanley Kramer is known for political films. The Defiant Ones, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and Inherit the Wind are just some of the political pictures he’s created. Yet, for all the statements his films make they seem no more and no less typical than a variety of other Hollywood think-pieces. When compared to true polemic films like those being produced by filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Kramer, Peter Watkins R.P.M. comes across puff-political pieces. Its message is as geared to selling tickets to weekend-radicals. If the message of R.P.M is milquetoast than the delivery system is all together screwy. R.P.M. feels like his ‘youth’ film except it comes from an odd perspective. For a generation taught to not trust anyone over 30 Anthony Quinn comes across as the least appealing, let alone believable liberal professor. He was more convincing as an Eskimo.