Watch Oh Dad, Poor Dad
- 1 hr 26 min
Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Momma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad is a 1967 black comedy film that deals with the cringe-inducing subject of a mother-son relationship that is as co-dependent as it is toxic. The movie opens with a shot of a moth pinned to a board - a visual metaphor that foreshadows the mother's controlling nature. Madame Rosepettle (Rosalind Russell) is a wealthy widow who brings her son Jonathan (Robert Morse) along with her on a vacation to the Caribbean. Jonathan has never left his mother's side and is a grown man who behaves like a child with separation anxiety. Madame Rosepettle is a bitter, controlling woman who has an obsession with death that manifests in her bizarre habit of collecting taxidermy animals. Every time she returns to her hotel room, she intensively arranges them in various poses, much to the disgust of hotel staff. As soon as they arrive, Madame Rosepettle makes it clear to everyone that she is in charge. She insists on taking over the entire hotel show, even trying to bully the guests into buying taxidermy from her. She tells them the animals are the only family she has left and even attempts to hire a hooker for her son, so he can get out some of his suppressed erotic desires. Jonathan doesn't do himself any favors by pretending he's got a mental illness, making up lies to his mother to convince her that he's not interested in girls. When she finally sees through his ruse, she takes matters into her own hands with regrettable consequences for anyone who gets in her way. The film uses a mixture of macabre humor and surreal imagery to create a disturbing and unsettling atmosphere around the characters. When the sailors arrive to pick up Madame Rosepettle's taxidermy collection, they wear masks, making them look like death itself. While Jonathan is finally starting to rebel against his mother's authority, his moments of self-assertion only come after he releases his mother's taxidermy animals, which makes him feel a sense of power but also unleashes chaos on the island. The acting is excellent, with Rosalind Russell stealing the show with her portrayal of a deranged mother who borders on the psychotic. She's manipulative, cruel and has no regard for boundaries. Robert Morse does a good job of playing a man-child, although his character's subservience at times becomes tiring, and his mannerisms become more aggravating than entertaining. Barbara Harris rounds out the cast, playing the ditzy hotel clerk who becomes fascinated with Jonathan, trying to lure him away from his mother's evil grasp. The film is loosely based on the play by Arthur Kopit, which was a huge success on Broadway. The play's symbolism, black comedy, and incestuous undertones make it both challenging and hilarious. In conclusion, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Momma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad is a quirky, macabre film that uses humor to explore the dynamic of a controlling mother-son relationship. The dark humor and surreal imagery work well for the subject matter, making it an entertaining but uncomfortable watch. Regardless of its lack of recognition today, the film still serves as an influential examination of twisted familial relationships.