It's time for one of the craziest films ever to be made (sorta). In 1976, Duke Mitchell shot most of the film and then the footage disappeared..until now! We think it's about some mafia guys who kidnap The Pope, yes that Pope. You don't want to miss this one.
Bob Murawski, who is known for editing the majority of Sam Raimi’s work, and Sage Stallone, who is known for coming out of Sylvester Stallone’s testicles, together founded Grindhouse Releasing. Grindhouse has been called the Criterion of cult films. The story goes that in 1995 Stallone and Murawski found the work print of gone with the pope in Jeff Mitchell’s garage, Jeff being the son of director Duke Mitchell. It would then take 15 years to restore the film. In 2010 the film was finished and given a very limited release. The numbers say that this was released to DVD in 2014 while Mitchell’s other film, Massacre Mafia Style, was released to home video on 2015. This seems to not jive as I watched a copy of Massacre Mafia Style in 2014, possibly even 2013. In more contrast to the listed release dates, the word on the street was that the release of Massacre Mafia Style and subsequent DVD sales funded the Blu-ray mastering of Gone With the Pope. Though he did see the completion of the film, Stallone would die tragically of a heart attack in 2012 several years before it’s wider home release.
Mitchell, the King of Palm Springs, started his entertainment career club singing for $65 a week. Sammy Petrillo, at that time, was also making about that for comedy. They teamed up and did a Martin & Lewis thing for a few years. At the height of their popularity they were in the budget film Bella Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. Shortly thereafter Jerry Lewis would have them blackballed. Duke continued his career as an entertainer and would eventually become responsible for the highly successful Palm Springs Ranch Club “Sunday Brunches” where he would bring in such exotic guests such as Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. Mitchell’s film making strategy was as loose as those brunches probably got. Reportedly the closest thing to a script the film had was a pile that consisted of notebooks, loose papers, and ideas written on envelopes and cocktail napkins. He would put anyone in the film provided that he gave them money. He shot the whole thing on weekends and fired his sound guy so he wouldn’t have to pay him. There was reportedly $35k spent on the unfinished project. Massacre Mafia Style was finished at a cost of $50k.
KAEOF: I don’t know what to watch for particularly. Having seen this there isn’t just a few things, this movie is bat shit crazy. It should be noted the very progressive rock music is that of Jeff Mitchell.