Who Killed Jessie?

Vaclav Vorlicek's black and white Czech slapstick fantasy was made the same year as Daisies (1966), and it's hard to think of two more irresponsible and anarchic comedies made under a communist regime. This one is slighter and more conventional, but its premise is still pretty outrageous. A scientist develops a formula that can transform a cow's nightmare of being attacked by flies (viewed on a TV monitor) into a more pleasant dream of placidly swinging in a hammock. But when she tries the serum out on her wimpy husband—who's been reading a comic book about a sexy Barbarella-type SF heroine, and dreaming she saves him from the clutches of an overweight Superman clone and an ornery wild-west gunslinger—all three characters immediately materialize, complete with dialogue bubbles. Most of what ensues is farcical, non-stop pandemonium, exceptionally silly and mainly delightful. For the record, the misleading English title should have been, Who Wants to Kill Jessie? In Czech with subtitles. 80 min.

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