Also known as: Out On Probation (working title), Downbeat
Release Date: March, 1958
Directed by: Lou Place
Written by: David Moessinger
Music by: John Williams
Cast: Dick Contino, Sandra Giles, Bruno Vesota, John McClure
American International Pictures, 73 Minutes
“Couldn’t help ya if I wanted to, fella. Gym policy.” – Bruce Green
Daddy-O is really only notable for two things.
One, it was the first motion picture scored by movie music maestro John Williams.
Two, it was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Other than those two things, this would probably have been lost to time, an ancient relic forgotten and swallowed up by the massive trash heap of terrible movies that’s buried somewhere deep, underneath Hollywood.
The film stars accordion maestro Dick Contino and a lot of bad ’50s styled pop tunes. It features youth trying too hard to be counterculture, a badly filmed car race and dancing that looks more like mental patients having a party in the seizure ward.
The humor is dry and terrible, the dialogue is atrocious, the direction is ineffective and the cinematography is so basic that it has an app that sends push notifications when it’s pumpkin spice latte season.
Daddy-O, for all its faults, isn’t the worst movie ever featured on MST3K but it is still tough to get through on its own. Like most MST3K movies, it’s best watched within the framework of that show because there’s too much material to riff on and you’d be bored senseless otherwise.
However, I did actually like the music that John Williams contributed to the film. But when the opening credits of booming Williams tunes to the sight of a car wheel spinning is the highlight of a film, you’re left with a long strip of celluloid that would have been more useful cut into 4 inch strips for bookmarks.
Pairs well with: other terrible excuses for old school youth movies: The Beatniks, Untamed Youth, Catalina Caper and The Choppers.