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  • Writer's pictureJeff South

Other Summer Movies of the 80s: Under the Rainbow

Released: July 31, 1981

Chevy Chase: Bruce Thorpe

Carrie Fisher: Annie Clark

Eve Arden: The Duchess

Joseph Maher: The Duke

Richard Donner: The Assassin

Billy Barty: Otto Kriegling

Screenplay by Fred Bauer, Pat Bradley, Pat McCormick, Harry Hurwitz, Martin Smith

Directed by Steve Rash

Ever know you've seen a movie but you can't recall a single plot point or character behavior? Like, you know you were there but the movie itself feels like waking from a weird dream. You can't explain it to someone beyond a few vague images. That's my experience with Under the Rainbow. I was there. My brother took me to see it because I wanted to see Carrie Fisher in something other than Star Wars. Her beauty captivated me. Chevy Chase was funny, too, so how could this go wrong?

I would count the ways except I can't remember them. There were little people because the plot was inspired by the likely apocryphal tales of acts of debauchery committed by the little people cast as munchkins during filming of The Wizard of Oz. I do remember one of those little people groping Eve Arden's breast and there was some brief nudity in a shower scene. Also, Carrie Fisher was in her underwear. Isn't it sad that I only remember that? No witty dialogue or funny plot contrivances. I think there was an assassination attempt involved somewhere. Carrie Fisher deserved better and she must've agreed because she would later proclaim it to be the worst movie she ever made. Chevy Chase labeled it one of the worst movies ever made by anyone.

What I do remember about the movie is when I saw it. It was a Sunday matinee before the first week of my freshman year of high school and I was scared. Junior high was a struggle that I managed to make the most of, so high school presented the same worries. Would my identity crisis deepen or would I find a place?

A random, specific memory of seeing Under the Rainbow has nothing to do with the film itself, but rather the drive home afterward. It was the first time I heard "That Old Song," by Ray Parker, Jr. and Raydio, on the radio and I bought 45 record the next weekend. I don't know why that is such a vivid memory. Guess I'm funny that way. Which is funnier than anything I remember about Under the Rainbow.

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