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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

How do you even begin to describe a spy like Miss Molly? She's a film whore, first of all. She works a piece of sidewalk right outside the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, which is where I met her the other night while it was raining. Her makeup was running, her wig was on sideways, but she still made me stop and let loose a stunned, "Good Golly!" when I saw her. We talked for a few minutes, and I ended up giving her my umbrella before heading inside. She was so grateful that she said she's going to start writing in from time to time. Imagine my surprise when I found this message in my e-mail box this morning. Sounds like I've got someplace to be in early November...

The Eyelid-Droop, The Mop, and the Rictus

Timothy Carey, “The World’s Greatest Sinner”

If you have any sense, you’ll go to the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard on Saturday, November 4th and Sunday the 5th. If you DON’T have any sense, you’ll probably be there already.

For two nights the American Cinematheque is screening Timothy Carery’s ultra-rare THE WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER (1962). I first caught this flick back in January of 1996, when it got screened once at The New Beverly Cinema. Someone told me it was John Cassavettes’ favorite flick. Maybe they meant “favorite comedy”, since this is one of the strangest moviegoing experiences I’ve ever had. I felt like the be-wigged gentry, paying a few shillings to view the maniacs at St. Guy’s back in the 17th century.

The film concerns Clarence Hilliard (Carey), an insurance salesman who decides he’s “God” (he makes a shirt with the word “GOD” stitched onto the sleeves) and forms a rock band/religion/political movement. It reportedly took Carey FOUR years of off-and-on piecemeal filming to complete the project. The closing credits alone are a testament to this, and worth the price of admission. You’ll see what I mean, guaranteed. But never has the idea of written/directed/starring/edited/filmed been more lovingly illustrated.

The plot could politely be called “episodic”, unraveling like a vaguely sinister acid trip, only you’re laughing too hard to start clawing your eyeballs out. The soundtrack is by Frank Zappa (billed in the credits as “ZAPPA”) and it churns along like a forgotten garage rock band recorded in an echo-ey sewer – and that’s a compliment! The scenes of Hilliard performing in “concert” make the Shaggs look like Rush. The band basically bangs and crashes and farts out this proto-punk spew, then stops dead silent so Hilliard can yawp, “Please, please PLEASE take my HAND!” Then the band starts up again, with Hilliard doing this creepy/hilarious shimmy dance, jangling around in his weird silk blouse/shirt.

Of course, these scenes pale in comparison to the scene where he seduces a 70 year-old widow for her cash, and the final, climactic “miracle”. Trust me, you HAVE to go see this flick.

It’s also nice to see the burgeoning DVD “bonus goodies” mentality starting to infect live screenings. Saturday night’s screening (6pm) is introduced by Romeo Carey, who’s showing a 30-minute work-in-progress documentary about his father. Then, at 9, they’re showing THE KILLING (1956) and THE OUTFIT (1973).

Sunday’s screening (7:45 pm) is followed by TWEET’S LADIES OF PASADENA (1972), Timothy Carey’s attempt at a late night TV series. Rumor has it he turned down a part in THE GODFATHER so he could finish TWEET’S – a one-hour show about the only male member of a Pasadena sewing circle (Carey) who find clothes for nude animals. TWEET’S is followed by CINEMA JUSTICE, a 6-minute outtake from Steve DeJarnatt’s TARZANA, where Carey sustains an unscripted rant as a crazed Korean War vet. I’ve never seen either one, but you can bet your death-rictus I’ll be there! Whew!

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