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"Mystery Science Theater 3000" Girl in Gold Boots DVD Review

Buy Mystery Science Theater 3000: Girl in Gold Boots DVD from Amazon.com Mystery Science Theater: Girl in Gold Boots
Show, Episode, Film & DVD Details

Original Airdate: April 18, 1999 / Episode Running Time: 92 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

Creator: Joel Hodgson / Executive Producer: Jim Mallon / Producer/Director: Kevin Murphy

Writers: Michael J. Nelson (head writer), Paul Chaplin, Bill Corbett, Bridget Jones, Kevin Murphy, Mary Jo Pehl

Cast: Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot, Observer), Patrick Brantseg (Gypsy), Michael J. Nelson (Mike Nelson), Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo, Professor Bobo), Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester), Paul Chaplin (Mad Scientist)

Original Songs: "MST3K Love Theme", "Oh, I Am Sad"

Girl in Gold Boots

Theatrical Release: April 25, 1968 / Rating: Not Rated

Producer/Director: Ted V. Mikels / Writers: Leighton J. Peatman, Arthur A. James, John T. Wilson

Cast: Jody Daniel (Critter Jones), Leslie McRae (Michele Casey), Tom Pace (Buz Nichols), Mark Herron (Leo McCabe), Bara Byrnes (Joanie Nichols), William Bagdad (Marty), Victor Izay (Mr. Casey), Harry Lovejoy (Harry Blatz), James Victor (Joey), Rod Wilmoth (Officer), Chris Howard (Chris), Mike Garrison (Station Attendant), Michael Derrick (Car Attendant), Sheila Roberts (Store Clerk), Dennis Childs (Jail Inmate), Duke Graham (Motorcyclist), Jerry Ambler (Motorcyclist), Anne McAnn (Waitress), Genji (Cocktail Waitress), Preston Epps (That "Bongo Rock" Man)

Original Songs: "Girl in Gold Boots", "For You", "Do You Want to Laugh or Cry", "Hello Michele", "One Good Time, One Place" / Licensed Songs: "Lonesome Man", Larry Cartell - "Sin", "You Gotta Come Down", "Strange Thing", Larry Cartell - "Cowboy Santa", "Don't Worry, Don't Hurry", "Tomorrow and You"

1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English) / Subtitles: None; Not Closed Captioned
Price: $14.99 / DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Clear Keepcase

Buy Mystery Science Theater 3000: Girl in Gold Boots on DVD from Amazon.com

Since acquiring the home video rights to "Mystery Science Theater 3000" four years ago, Shout! Factory has favored the 4-disc, 4-episode box sets that former distributor Rhino Home Video began issuing in the fall of 2002. Shout! recently released their tenth such DVD collection (the twenty-third overall) of the 1990s cable comedy.
As far as 1990s cable comedies go, "MST3K" has inspired more fervent and enduring popularity than most. Rather than limit their customer base to the many diehards glad to drop $30 on each new volume, Shout! has also released the occasional individual "MST3K" episode on its own not in general retail but as a Shout! Select title, available exclusively through their Shout! Factory Store.

Anyone familiar with exclusive DVDs in the 21st century knows what that usually means: high prices, low quality. The manufactured on demand market that has developed in the past few years has made countless old movies and niche television shows available with a minimum of studio effort and customer satisfaction. However, "MST3K" is not alone old movies or niche television, but somewhere in between. And Shout! Factory is not a big, ordinary studio; they pride themselves on treating even relatively obscure shows and films right. No doubt one of their most profitable franchises, "MST3K" is anything but obscure. So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Shout!'s individual episode DVDs are not easily distinguished from the studio's ordinary product released to stores. No mere DVD-R, this is a full-fledged, normally-pressed DVD. The artwork and packaging are of the usual high quality, but the many costs associated with retail are spared to ensure the profitability of a disc many fans will be glad to see.

You might expect lesser "MST3K" episodes to arrive this way, with the more highly regarded ones going to the more widely available box sets, but Girl in Gold Boots proves that is simply not the case. This second episode from the show's tenth and final season is among the very best I've seen.

Pearl Forrester (Mary Jo Pehl) hopes to become a fully accredited mad scientist in this episode. Critter (Jody Daniels), Michele (Leslie McRae), and Buz (Tom Pace) are excited to see the go-go dancers of Hollywood's Haunted House.

In the unlikely event that this review is your introduction to this esteemed cult classic, "MST3K" consists of two-hour episodes in which a human and two robots subjected to bad movies make the best of it with sarcastic running commentary on the film. By the start of Season 10, head writer Michael J. Nelson had held the lead human character role for nearly as long as his predecessor, creator Joel Robinson. Though fans are split on who made the better silhouetted and occasionally on-camera personality, Nelson was plenty comfortable sending up B-movies with his puppet friends aboard the Satellite of Love, Tom Servo (voiced by Kevin Murphy) and Crow T. Robot (now voiced by Bill Corbett). In the final season, Mike and friends' chief tormentors is Pearl Forrester (Mary Jo Pehl), the mother of former captor Dr. Forrester, who is aided by henchmen ape Professor Bobo (also Murphy) and alien Observer (also Corbett).

Girl in Gold Boots is just about the perfect movie for Mike, Crow, and Tom Servo to riff on. This 1968 film, humorously classified as a crime drama, is an absolute hoot. After an opening title sequence of scantily-clad go-go dancers in gold, the film begins at Eat, a tiny diner in the middle of nowhere (New Mexico). Waitress Michele (Leslie McRae) loves to dance and she has plenty of time to do it with one jukebox and no customers. Soon, she finds herself with two separate customers. Buz (Tom Pace) is a smooth-talking guy, who promises to make her dancer dreams come true in Hollywood. Critter (Jody Daniels) is smooth-talking in his own way, boasting of bills too big to break.

Michele tells off her boss, her mean father (Victor Izay), quitting and hopping into Buz's car to head west. They soon run into Critter, who joins them to form a love triangle on wheels. The only problem is that none of the three has any money (Critter's talk was apparently just that). Since you can't get to California on words alone, Buz turns to armed robbery to get the group to their destination. That destination is Haunted House, an inexplicably themed little joint whose main attraction is dancing girls in micro skirts (or less).

For being promptly promoted to Haunted House's star dancer, Michele (Leslie McRae) doesn't boast an exceptional amount of talent. In "Girl in Gold Boots", this young boy Buz (Tom Pace) gets into armed robbery, LSD dealing, and murder.

Buz's sister Joanie (Bara Byrnes) truly (and surprisingly) is the place's star dancer and girlfriend to its greasy owner Leo McCabe (Mark Herron). But not for long. Shortly after getting an audition, Michele becomes Leo's new star, with Joanie kicked to the wayside. Michele's companions also move up in the world: a freshly-shaved Critter is hired as janitor and then discovered as a guitar talent by the house band (just days before he aspires to become a draft dodger), while Buz graduates to LSD dealer. Naturally, Michele's rise sees her getting hooked on hard drugs, though this is half-hearted as far as cautionary tales go, choosing a heist of a jail's seized narcotics supply as its action climax.

In fact, Girl in Gold Boots is at most half-hearted about everything. The film's creative woes make it vastly more entertaining than something more polished and intelligent would be. This bizarre product of the age of hippies and drugs fuels a colorful array of witticisms from the Satellite of Love gang.
Cracks at erratic editing and sound woes are hilarious, especially because the movie doesn't even try to cover up its goofs. A thought just cuts out, a character teleports into a scene... these are must-rewind moments you'll be astonished were left in the film.

Not that anyone was expecting anything but exploitation from the title and from the movie's producer/director Ted V. Mikels, whose trademarks according to IMDb are a handlebar moustache and a boar's tooth necklace. IMDb's trivia section goes on to add that Mikels lived in a castle-style Las Vegas mansion replete with strippers (Wikipedia also puts him in a Glendale, CA harem with secret passageways) and that his dream project was to make a Beowulf film starring "fellow bodybuilding enthusiast" Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mikels is not only still alive (he turns 83 next month), but he's still working, writing, producing and directing movies like 2010's Astro Zombies: M3 - Cloned and the upcoming Astro Zombies: M4 - Invaders from Cyberspace. The downside to this episode getting released to DVD on its own is that we are deprived a featurette on such an intriguing filmmaker, although a documentary has recently been made by his primary distributor Alpha Video, called The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels and narrated by John Waters.

Girl in Gold Boots was previously released on Rhino's long since discontinued Volume 4, among the out-of-print MST3K DVDs now fetching very high prices in secondhand markets.

A silhouette Mike Nelson seizes an opportunity for a pool cue gag in this scene prominently featuring an unused billiards table. The one DVD menu for MST3K: Girl in Gold Boots is simple but tasteful, featuring the iconic silhouettes, the title logo, and the film's poster.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Girl in Gold Boots' colors are faded. Its print is worn. The picture is often overly dark and regularly cluttered with debris or lines on the screen. It also probably is cropped to achieve the 1.33:1 aspect ratio of 1990s television. And all that is just as it was thirteen years ago. The "MST3K" episode's picture and Dolby 2.0 stereo sound are okay and on par with the other DVDs of the series. There definitely is not the reduced effort of other companies' straight-from-studio exclusives. Expectedly but still disappointingly, Shout! doesn't offer either subtitles or closed captioning here, which might occasionally prove useful on the technically-challenged movie.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

In contrast to Shout Factory!'s "MST3K" box sets, nary an extra is found here.

The simple lone menu merely repositions the elements of the basic cover art (which doesn't boast the creative retro designs of the box sets), animating the stars behind while playing the film's title theme tune. There isn't even a scene selection menu, although the episode is suitably divided into 16 chapters.

Like most of the studio's output, the disc is packaged in a standard clear keepcase, which utilizes the reverse artwork to display inside (not that it's anything special).

A lovesick Critter (Jody Daniel) comes up with a sad song on a rainy night which Michele (Leslie McRae) gets to watch in her own special way. Shortly after, MST3K recreates this memorable music moment with Mike (Mike Nelson) crooning and Crow T. Robot popping in.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Girl in Gold Boots clearly falls into the "so bad, it's good" camp.
This hilariously awful down-to-earth '60s movie is easy to invest in and follow, which results in one of the funniest and most enjoyable "Mystery Science Theater 3000" episodes I've seen, right up there with the legendary shows devoted to all-time worst movie contenders Manos: The Hands of Fate and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. This standalone DVD doesn't work out to as good a value as the studio's 4-movie collections (which themselves seem a little overpriced), but I've found the quality of their episodes to be more hit-and-miss, whereas this installment entertains from start to finish for 92 minutes of delightful bad movie skewering.

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Reviewed March 30, 2012.



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