|Copyright 1972 Greaser's Palace Ltd.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 17 February 2001
- Jessy - Christ wearing a zoot suit. You don't believe me? Keep reading heretic; it just gets less coherent.
- The Father - The lead part of the Trinity, he enjoys lazy afternoons shooting hapless women with his air rifle. As in pantomiming holding a rifle and firing, he doesn't shoot people with a real BB gun. Honestly, why would you think that? God walking around shooting people with a BB gun. Ludicrous!
- The Holy Ghost - Bet you didn't know he wears a sheet (with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth) and black derby. Displays an attitude about his lot in theology and why not? Everybody understands the Father and the Son, but the Spirit gets little press.
- Lamy Homo - He could be Greaser's illegitimate son. Keeps getting killed, but Jessy brings the little guy back to life every time. His description of the afterlife has me rather worried.
- Cholera - Daughter to the evil Mr. Greaser and main attraction at the Palace. She might represent the Church of England. Maybe. I think. Regardless of that artsy stuff, she is capable of having multiple orgasms with all her clothes on.
- The Pioneer Woman - When God first kills your family and then is continuously shooting you, life looks bleak. Bottom line is that she is wandering around the desert while God tortures her for no obvious reason. Guess whom she represents?
- A French Padre, a Male Nun, the Agent Morris, Vernon, the Man Who Couldn't Crawl, and others - Man, this movie is weird.
- Seaweedhead Greaser - Constipated owner of the theater/saloon who represents the Catholic Church. (I'm going to try and explain all this in the plot section, but you will soon understand why I'm doomed to failure.)
|I am about to embark on the most pointless exercise known to man and I'm not talking about teaching a pig to fly. (Which actually works with a mildly sedated porker and a small trebuchet.) I'm going to try and explain "Greaser's Palace" to a group of people who probably have not seen the movie. Heck, even if you have seen the movie it's pointless.
You are probably thinking to yourself, "It couldn't be that outlandish. Could it?" Go and look up "naive" in the dictionary. Now.
The entire movie is an anecdotal allegory for religion, Christianity to be precise. If you want to start splitting hairs, I think Catholicism is the basis for everything that comes to pass. Greaser's Palace is a huge saloon in some tumbleweed town out west; we can identify it as being "a church" since people come running to watch the show whenever bells begin ringing. Seaweedhead Greaser is the Catholic Church as represented by a gunslinger with itchy trigger fingers. Why in the world does he have a mariachi band and his mother locked in wooden cages? The musicians are easy to explain; they provide entertainment while Greaser tries to have bowel movements (which he is unable to do). Did I mention the outhouse is on the second or third story, located at one corner? How about everyone watching anxiously, some even leaning over the railings, for signs of success?
Right from the start it is evident that Greaser hates Lamy Homo (pronounced as "lay me homo"). He shoots, stabs, and even dumps the little guy down a well. The Church's efforts to eradicate his homo problem are to no avail; Jessy keeps bringing the reluctant Lazarus back. Lamy consistently recites the same story upon his return from the other side and it's a trip. Readers old enough to remember when Puff relaxed immigration laws and all those runny noses invaded Honah-Lee (Honalee? Hon-a-lee? Who knows?) might identify with me. It's that weird.
Any movie about Western religion would be incomplete without Martin Luther; so where is he? He is the man trying to perform a card trick for Seaweedhead. Check it out, the would-be magician does the old "pick a card, any card" bit. He then holds up card after card, inquiring "This one? How about this one? That one?" Poor Martin Luther, trying in vain to decide which interpretation is correct. History says the man finally gave up and just wrote something to the effect of "Figure it out for yourself!" Then he went to get a hammer and nails, but I'm getting sidetracked.
Still with me?
Native Americans are evident through the film, though never really explored. They are just sort of there, like a whole generation looking for enlightenment in the guise of natural healing, drugs, and free love. No idea what they could represent though; I'm just not that clever. Anyway, you will see them engaged in normally cryptic behavior; self-flagellation with a boot for example.
Dressing sharp and resurrecting the dead are only two of Jessy's routines. He spends most of the movie with a small group following his every move and a memorable scene performing at Greaser's Palace. Singing and dancing doesn't seem to capture the hearts and minds of the townspeople, but when the blood starts flowing from his lacerated palms they go wild with adulation. That's right, Christ exhibiting stigmata. What in the heck? There is no way Christ can display a religious miracle based upon himself, maybe we can attribute it to foreshadowing.
The prodigal son has other tricks up his sleeve though. He can cure people of their ills, even without a telethon going on. When one dirty miner falls to the ground after discarding his crutches you think the miracle might have failed. Wrong! Don't try to anticipate this movie. Ever. The afflicted man begins to cry joyfully, "I can crawl again!" Hehehe! There is a whole scene of him slowly creeping across the floor as Greaser laughs hysterically.
Now, every single conclusion I have drawn is easily the subject of debate. Truth be told, if you came up with your own ideas about whom Cholera represents there is only one way to settle the dispute - trial by combat: two people hacking at each other with broadswords, with the winner (he who is still alive) getting to determine the truth. Don't get all huffy, go and read your history books. Who wrote those? A twitching pile of limbs and entrails or the victor? Case closed, I'm going to sharpen my sword.
However, if anyone has an explanation of how a rhinestone cowboy fits into Christianity, I'm all ears. Wait a minute. He represents the pageantry of the Church, all the shiny things intended to keep our minds occupied instead of a substantial representation of divinity. Now the question is: what place does Hervé Villechaize, living with a bearded hermaphrodite, have in Christianity?
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- When someone starts speaking in tongues it is because the Holy Ghost ground out a lit cigar on their chest.
- Jesus has a parachute license.
- Heaven is full of naked babies and rainbows.
- Oral sex puts women to sleep.
- The Church made a good choice in dictating only women could be nuns.
- Christ can walk on water better than anyone else, but his floor routine needs work.
- Everybody appreciates a naked woman on horseback.
- Homosexuals cannot stand mariachi music.
- Jesus is also a licensed chiropractor.
- If you are going to end the movie with a sunset then please use time elapse photography.
- 3 mins - One has to wonder if a song about the virtues of virginity is lost on this crowd.
- 7 mins - Tithing?
- 9 mins - I don't think that singing to the IRS would be a good idea either.
- 15 mins - Somebody was nice and saved him from all that drug abuse...
- 23 mins - The Church screwing over Native Americans? I dunno, but that is seriously disturbing.
- 31 mins - How much do you want to bet she has thirty pieces of silverware? (You'll get it later - heathen.)
- 36 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 43 mins - The horse shot her! Orwell was right!
- 49 mins - You know what would spruce this place up? A... ...nope, on second thought, I'll stop. If I say it I'm certainly going to Hell. One hint: what do you usually see gracing the wall there?
- 51 mins - "The Messiah! The Messiah!" Hehehehe!
- 83 mins - A public service announcement from your local utilities company...
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Jessy: "I'm on my way to Jerusalem to be an actor/singer. It is written that the agent Morris awaits me."
||Lamy: "Dad, I was swimming in a rainbow with millions of babies... ...and they was naked... ...and then all of the sudden I turned into a perfect smile!" |
Some Old Coot: "Put a rope around the son of a b*tch!"
||Afflicted Man: "I can crawl again!"
||Cholera: "A man with holes in his hands gets a bigger applause than me, and you talk of greatness?"
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|It is really difficult to appreciate this movie in the space of only twenty seconds. Just remember that the distinguished gentleman is Seaweedhead (aka: the Church) and this apparently represents what goes on in a confessional. |
Go watch the movie. If you're going to be confused, you might as well be confused with the big picture.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
|Re: Greasers Palace
Reply #25. Posted on February 02, 2007, 01:09:20 AM by CarlosPC
Have you ever seen El Topo? Cause this movie looks like some kinda cheapo parody of that...
YES! It reminded me of El Topo many times. Oh God we all are losing our souls!!!
|Re: Greasers Palace
Reply #26. Posted on July 06, 2007, 01:29:48 AM by Petey Wheatstraw
A good companion piece to William Blatty's Ninth Configuration with Stacey Keach. Though a less cerebral exploration of religion. Bizarre humor, apologetics and random madness. Plus it's hard to ignore the Vietnam war connection between Ninth Config. and Alan Arbus' charachter on MASH.
My favorite Sidney Friedman line from MASH:
Ladies and gentlemen take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice.
|Re: Greasers Palace
Reply #27. Posted on November 07, 2009, 03:57:19 AM by JoshieB
I'm watching this movie right now on the Turner Classic Movie channel in Vancouver, BC. The guy just humped the statue. You have no idea how relieved I am to find a forum that discusses this thing. (Not that I'm recommending it -- in fact I'm about to pack it in -- but it is totally bizarre.) Note that the guy who plays Jesse is also in "Putney Swope."
|Re: Greasers Palace
Posted on January 07, 2010, 03:56:00 PM by Rev. Powell
I can't agree with all your allegorical interpretations of the movie, Andrew, but man did you hit the nail on the head (so to speak) with the identity of "The Pioneer Woman." Notice who nails Jesse to the cross at the end; it's fairly controversial when you think about it.
A very bizarre and subtly clever movie. I liked it but wasn't overwhelmed by it when I first saw it years ago on Bravo, but I appreciated it much more on a second viewing, understanding going in that it was a comedy.
It's a real shame that this has gone out of print on DVD. I hope someone rectifies this situation soon.
|Re: Greasers Palace
Reply #29. Posted on July 20, 2010, 12:57:32 AM by Steven
Greaser = Caeser/Rome.
|Re: Greasers Palace
Reply #30. Posted on August 25, 2010, 09:37:45 AM by Drew
I first came across the movie when it was first released, and I was captivated, horrified, and somehow comforted. While the religious symbolism is obvious, I think it spoke to me on an even more fundamental level, about how close is the human animal to chaos and how the structure of belief systems fails us. It fit my view of the world
No, this isn't great art, nor am I a great thinker, but I get this movie out every five or ten years to look at it and see where it takes me. I share it cautiously.
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