Blu-ray Review: GREASER’S PALACE

GREASER’S PALACE was written and directed by Robert Downey Sr. and stars Allan Arbus as the zoot-suited drifter named Jessy, Albert Anderson as the ruthless Seaweedhead Greaser, Michael Sullivan as Greaser’s son Lamy, Luana Anders as Greaser’s daughter Cholera and Elsie Downey as the unnamed woman. Also featured in the cast are Hervé Villechaize as a ravenous dwarf, future choreographer and singer Toni Basil as a topless Indian scout, and a six-year-old Robert Downey, Jr., billed here as “Small Boy in Covered Wagon.” The score for was composed by Jack Nitzsche.

In GREASER’S PALACE, the story of Christ’s sufferings is “updated” and set in the wild and woolly Old West, where a zoot-suited drifter named Jessy (Allan Arbus) performs miracles and attracts a large following. But what he really wants to do is sing and dance! He finally gets a chance to bring his act to the The Palace, a saloon run by the ruthless Seaweedhead Greaser (Albert Anderson), and he’s a big hit. But Jessy’s got more miracles to do…like restoring life to Greaser’s son Lamy (Michael Sullivan), who’s been killed by his father, and then contending with Greaser’s envious daughter Cholera (Luana Anders). Meanwhile, an unnamed woman (Elsie Downey) struggles to reach the town after her husband and son are murdered.

This extremely weird 1972 cult classic follow Jessy, a zoot-suited drifter who dreams up singing and dancing on stage while he performs miracles during along the way. He also picks up many followers during his journey of strange and bizarre enlightenment. There’s also Greaser, a ruthless man who will kill anyone at anytime, even his own son who is also resurrected by the protagonist of the story. Greaser, the antagonist of the story, also has this hilarious bathroom problem that could possibly be the reason he’s always in a foul mood. Who knows? Anyway, the paths of these two men end up crossing and Jessy gets to take the stage and show off his talents in front of Greaser and a receptive audience.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The movie has been remastered and given a brand-new HD scan with extensive color correction of the original negatives. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Greaser’s Palace was another first time watch for me and I’ll go ahead and put it up there with the strangest movies I’ve ever witnessed. One thing is for sure and that’s the fact that this movie isn’t going to be for everyone and might even make some viewers extremely uncomfortable because of its religious blasphemy and wicked humor. The movie is a parable on the life of Christ that takes place in a rundown Wild West town and follows this zoot-suited drifter who simply wants to sing and dance while he performs miracle after miracle on his journey. The movie is creative, unique and entertaining if you can get past its offensive content that in all honesty isn’t as bad as some of the words that describe it. Allan Arbus delivers an unforgettable performance as this misfit hero and Robert Downey captures it all with his camera. This zany 1972 cult western comedy is now available for the first time ever on Blu-ray.

Distributor: Doppelganger Releasing and Scorpion Releasing

Run Time: 91 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include an on-camera interview with Robert Downey Sr. by writer Rudy Wurlitzer and liner notes by academy award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme.


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