At every installment of our AGFA Deep Tracks series, we invite you to view a film from the depths of the American Genre Film Archive vault, with proceeds benefiting the Archive. Past selections include L’AGRESSION and TOUGH GUYS DON’T DANCE. This month: THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE!!!
THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE is not only the world’s first (and its last!) superhero movie-musical, but is also the only PG-rated film wherein certain characters promote wanton alcohol consumption (a song called ‘Pick Your Poison’ ends with characters chanting “drink, drink, drink!”) and several unexplainably gratuitous scenes involve sudden throngs of naked, laughing women. These are just a few of the elements that make THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE an unabashedly weird and totally wonderful picture.
Alan Arkin portrays the eponymous Captain Invincible, who loyally serves his country throughout World War II, ensuring a timely victory for the Allies. However, in post-war society, McCarthyism and the fear of communist influence begin to take hold. When the Captain himself is accused of alleged communist leanings, he becomes lethargic, quite demoralized and disappears without warning from the public eye.
Years later, he is found living in Australia, passing the days, weeks, and months by fighting hangovers instead of criminals. Captain Invincible has all but forgotten how to use his powers and is now a bumbling, mumbling boozehound. Wouldn’t you know it, but Invincible’s old archenemy, the diabolical Mr. Midnight (Christopher Lee) has picked precisely this moment to strike! He captures a device known as the Hypno-Ray and seeks to use it to, unsurprisingly, conquer the world. Without Captain Invincible, does America and Earth as a whole stand a chance against Mr. Midnight? A man without a country, will Captain Invincible choose to return to save those that unceremoniously spurned him so long ago? Only time will tell!
THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE is that rare breed of film: far too strange to have any actual mainstream appeal and, although allegedly aimed at children, is overall much better appreciated by a slightly older audience, one old enough to both legally drink and look at boobs. Directed by Philippe Mora (better known for MAD DOG MORGAN) and written by Stephen E. de Souza (who most famously wrote the original DIE HARD), THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE is truly unlike anything you have ever seen.
Join us on Sunday, January 20th at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz at 10:45 PM, where we will show a beautiful archival 35mm print of THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE. Bring a friend, feel free to wear spandex or some superhero gear, but most of all, get ready to enjoy a mind-melter of a motion picture!