For the best of the Horror/Cult/Exploitation film experience
Gone with the Pope (1976 unreleased) (Grindhouse Releasing - 2010)
There are few films in my life that have ever been presented to me in the way that “Gone with the Pope” has, as I was basically introduced to the film from trailers added on Grindhouse Releasing’s DVD’s. It looked amazing, quite different than anything I had seen up until that point. There was also another trailer on the discs out there for a movie called “Massacre Mafia Style” which looked like it had something to do with it. After doing some researched I realized that a guy in both movies that looked familiar to me and that guy would be the man, the myth, the legend himself....Duke Mitchell. Duke Mitchell was a man of many trades, as he was a well known lounge singer and even provided the singing voice of Fred Flintstone on several episodes of the long standing television cartoon The Flintstones. He is also remembered for being in the film “Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla” (1952) starring the legendary horror icon. But most of all in my opinion, Duke Mitchell is the star of two of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen in “Massacre Mafia Style” and “Gone with the Pope”. Recently thanks to the people at Grindhouse Releasing, I had the chance to witness “Gone with the Pope” the way it was intended, on the big screen and on film.
“Gone with the Pope” is the story of Paul (Duke Mitchell) a career criminal who is finally getting out of jail. Upon leaving prison he promises to take care of several of his friends regardless of the cost and it just so happens that the cost is going to be one dollar from every Catholic in the world. Paul gets the idea to kidnap the Pope and hold him for that very same ransom with a couple of his right hand men, Peter and Luke.
I have to say that I was completely excited to see this one at an actual movie theater and unlike so many other films I manage to see, was completely worth the wait. I was actually mad that it only played two nights in my town because I seriously wanted to go see it again. Duke Mitchell was fantastic in the lead of the film and delivered exactly the type of badass performance that I was expecting after seeing “Massacre Mafia Style”. I also thought it was pretty cool to see Mitchell’s son Jeffrey show up in a quick cameo in the movie too.
The movie reminded me of the era that it was shot in and that’s the scene of 1970s exploitation pictures. This was a self produced, written, and directed film for Mitchell who in my opinion would have had a wonderful career in making exploitation flicks if his life wasn’t ended so early. That was exactly the era I just spoke of where creative people were making films on their own money and their own merits. These movies have an certain attitude about them and there’s no doubt that Mitchell’s “Gone with the Pope” has one hell of an attitude.
"Gone with the Pope" is shot like a typical low budget exploitation picture would be, with the notable exception is that the movie is actually rather poetically shot. It’s style is certainly something that will make it stand out from the crowd, even though it’s showing up to the party about 34 years too late. The good thing is that there is a rabid audience out there for a movie like this and I know it’s going to find it’s audience out there when it’s released on DVD.
Overall “Gone with the Pope” is a fantastic exploitation picture and is something that fans of the genre are going to want to see. The film is rather reflective of an era gone by, but it’s quite an important era nonetheless. The folks at Grindhouse Releasing have gone to a lot of trouble to get this film up and out for people to see and I really appreciate the effort they put forth on this project. The film is certainly a masterpiece of exploitation and it was a joy for someone like me to get to witness it. It’s a shame that the movie never got it’s proper due in the era it was made, but there’s no doubt that “Gone with the Pope” is such an excellent flick that it couldn’t have been locked up and gone unseen forever. For more information on “Gone with the Pope” and all of Grindhouse Releasing’s titles, go to www.grindhousereleasing.com.
Rating - ****