Down Among The Z Men (1952)

I’m not a big fan of The Goons but had pretty low expectations of a black and white sketch comedy group from the 50’s so I wasn’t frothing with rage after this movie.  It’s similar to the National Lampoon movies from the late 70’s and early 80’s except maybe not as funny.  I know there were budget issues and screenwriter issues and etc. and etc. but despite all that it still wasn’t really that funny.

There are points where they almost lampoon British secrecy and the army and intelligence during WWII, almost to the point that you can laugh.  Problem is that their audience is only 7 years after WWII and not likely to find all their efforts to be good citizens and soldiers all that funny.

The dancing girls are a strange interruption and an inexplicable part of the movie except perhaps to draw an audience.

The context of the Z Men counterespionage against the mysterious secret agents gets lost most of the time and we’re left with a muddled mess of a story that a better writer, better director, better budget and better comedians could have pulled off… better.  I think the fact that a movie like this was even made makes it worth watching.  Who cares if it’s not that great?  It has spies, a secret formula, enemy penetration of a secret army base and dancing girls.  That’s better than some of the other “spy” movies people will recommend.

My worst criticism is that they come across like amateurs who watch actual comedy and then try and imitate it.