CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fun Summer Movies - National Lampoon's ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)

Summer Release Date: 28 July 1978 Starring Tim Matheson, John Belushi, Donald Sutherland, John Vernon, Peter Riegert, Mary Louise Weller, Karen Allen, Stephen Furst, Kevin Bacon, Tom Hulce, Mark Metcalf, Martha Smith, James Daughton.

Now I was too young to see this when it first hit theaters during the summer of 1978, but I did catch it on HBO years later and loved it from the opening scene. Set in 1962 at the fictional college university of Faber, Animal House focuses on the notorious wild fraternity Delta. It is during pledge week that we meet two incoming freshmen played by Tom Hulce and Stephen Furst, who first get turned away by a snooty rival fraternity before being accepted by Delta. The roll call of Delta goes like this: Delta President Hoover (James Widdoes); Otter (Tim Matheson); Boone (Peter Riegert); D-Day (Bruce McGill) and Bluto (John Belushi). The freshmen Hulce and Furst are eventually given the call names Pinto and Flounder respectively.

Delta must continually avoid the wrath of Dean Wormer (played by John Vernon) who has been threatening to kick them off campus for years and with the help of fraternity rival leader Greg and his co-horts, he is close to doing just that. The laughs come frequently and are plenty. Matheson is perfectly cast as the charming ladies man Otter, while Riegert make a great wing man for him as Boone. That is when he's not dealing with his on and off again girlfriend Katy (played by the very young and wide eyed Karen Allen of Raiders of the Lost Ark). She is a standout in this otherwise male dominated film. I mean you do have the beguiling Mandy Pepperidge, Otter's ex girlfriend (played by Mary Louise Weller) and her friend Babs (played by Martha Smith). And let's not forget a small role by Verna Bloom who plays Mrs. Dean Wormer, who is seduced by Otter. Belushi is Bluto. Period. His scene in the cafeteria where he is just scarfing down food has to be seen to be believed.

Animal House is a riot from start to finish. Throw in the musical appearance by Otis Day and the Knights, who bust out the energetic Shout at the Delta frat party and then later on with a slow jam at a nightclub. The Deltas trial. The toga party. The parade climax that turns into an out of control melee. All add up to a classic movie. The entire cast appears to be having a grand old time. And Animal House leaves it's mark in the history of funny movies as one of the best ever made.


With a budget of only $3 million, Animal House became one of the biggest hits of all time with over $150 million in box office sales.

The movie was set to be filmed at the University of Missouri until the president of the school read the script and refused permission. It was filmed at and around the University of Oregon in Eugene instead.

The bass player in the band Otis Day and the Knights is then-unknown bluesman Robert Cray. Cray was instrumental in getting the musicians together that appeared as the band.
Film debut of Kevin Bacon.

Meat Loaf was the second choice for Bluto in case John Belushi dropped out of his role.

Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.

Karen Allen's first movie.

Harold Ramis (I)', who co-wrote the film, based some of the pranks on his college experiences at Washington University in St. Louis, specifically when Otter and Boone are hitting golf balls at the ROTC.
Even thought the actors are portraying college students, most of them were in their mid to late twenties.
Hulce was 24, Belushi was 28, Matheson and Riegert were both 30, Weller was 31, McGill was 26 as was Allen.

1 comment:

kalli said...

Yes! Otis Day and the Knights! I love them! Belushi cracks me up, too.


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