Lemonade Joe has to be the weirdest eastern block western comedy on DVD ever. Clearly inspired by the oaties serial films Hollywood made in the thirties and forties as much as it is by the films of John Ford and other giants of the western, this absolutely bizarre musical western definitely charms even if it features a convoluted plot. The bizarre mix of gunplay, mock violence, voluntary mugging for the camera, really bad songs both in sort of English and Czech is of definite interest for any fan of foreign comedy.
Lemonade Joe (Karel Fiala)is the white-hatted cowboy hero who comes to Stetson City just in time to save the prohibition proselytizing Winifred Goodman from harm at the hand of dastardly Pistol Pete and saloon owner Doug Badman -subtle last names, I know. His shooting abilities convince all of Stetson City to go on the wagon and drink only Kolaloka lemonade (and if you see a reference to Coca-Cola you got it).
Badman and his evil-doer brother and evil magician Hogo Fogo fight Lemonade Joe for conrol of the town and the drinking profits. This involves a lot of pretty harmless gunplay, a couple of torch songs by saloon singer Lou, a lot of horsing around (pun intended), and a lot of mock violence involving smashing people on the head with eggs and such.
Perhaps the most bizarre thing about Lemonade Joe is the movie is not quite in blackand white. Most scenes involving Lemonade Joe are filmed as if through a bowl of lemon Jell-O while scenes at the saloon are either filmed a red filter. Other scenes, depending on the tone are shown through a pink or ice-blue filter.
This is definitely a tongue deeply in cheek salute to the American western that aat the same time spoofs everything these westerns were known for going over the top with. Lemonade Joe is one, if not the weirdest, foreigh comedy I have ever seen and the strangest western comedy I have seen in a while.
Something I parcitularly appreciated in this Facets Video release was the information booklet that comes with the DVD. Czech movie expert Peter Hames gives a lot of background information that helps you enjoy this bizarre comedy.
If you liked Blazing Saddles, you will love Lemonade Joe as long as you do not mind subtitles