Within five minutes of Mickey One, this experimental film levellies a barrage of outstanding cool black and white images at you. Everyone you could instantly freeze frame, print and stick straight up on your wall.
This film is surreal, bizarre and super fantastique! Inspired by French New Wave Cinema of the time, Director Arthur Penn (Bonnie And Clyde, Night Moves) goes to town with Alan Surgal script. Twisting together an edgy free falling story into the world of paranoia and fear.
Our handsome wise talking hero is played with passion by a young Warren Beatty. A stand-up comic working the club scene unfortunately run by the Mafia. After a extremely heavy night on the tiles, drinking, partying, gambling and probably flirting with mob bosses girls, or maybe worse, he wakes to realise he has got himself dug way too deep, owing thousands. Fearing for his life he makes a run for it, fleeing to Chicago to hide out. On the road he obtains a Social Security card and becomes Mickey One.
Mickey One – I’m the king of the silent pictures. I’m hiding out till the talkies blow over. Will you leave me alone?
Mickey is a twitchy fellow with big anger issues but also buckets of charm and finesse as he tries to make ends meet. He starts to feel his calling back to the stand-up circuit, which brings unwanted attention to the fear laden guy and drives him a little nuts. Lucky he has an agent called George Berson (Teddy Hart) and the gawd darn sexy Jenny Drayton (Alexandra Stewart) to look out for him. Can our Mickey get his feet back on the ground and get this unfortunate mess sorted out?
This film hits so many surreal moments. From trampolines, to saunas, to random people dressed in strange clothes and a massive brawl featuring a load of heavies in pantomime costumes. It’s all strange and fascinating.
Random jump cuts, fading in and out images, stylised scenes to a few comical segues. None more so than the rag and bone japanese artist guy (Kamatari Fujiwara) who pops up throughout the film just waving at Mickey. He goes off to build one of the craziests art installations you did ever see, just called “Yes”. Does it represent our hero’s predicament? Self destruction…..
And to finish you get the free jazz, spasmodic moods and improvisation from saxophone legend Stan Getz, literally freaking out on his horn giving the scenes an added edge of delirious madness. The Mickey One soundtrack LP is composed by Eddie Sauter and released on MGM Records.
Definitely a recommended watch if you can track it down, it’s quite the original piece of filmmaking and carried well by Warren Beatty’s quirky performance. Have you seen it before? What did you think. Let the old Wolfman know. Have fun, enjoy cinema…
Further Reading Links