Home Video Hovel: Bolero / Ghosts Can’t Do It, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
Once upon a time, Bo Derek was a sex symbol. Several of her early films were directed by her husband John Derek; two of these, Bolero and Ghosts Can’t Do It, are featured in this new double feature Blu-ray release from Shout Factory. Both are odd romantic comedies with copious nudity and stilted acting. No special features are included except for a single trailer for each film.
Bolero is the better of the two. A period farce set in the 1920s, Bolero details the sexual awakening of friends Lida (Bo Derek) and Catalina (Ana Obregon). After being turned on by Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik, the pair travels to find a real-life sheik of their own. Led by their driver Cotton (George Kennedy), they have adventures around the world. Think American Pie meets Indiana Jones from a female perspective without the humor or adventure.
Bo Derek romps nude in several scenes. Even George Kennedy of Airport and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult fame gets laid at one point! Much of the dialogue is awful (“I am woman. Ready! Juicy too!”), but the scenery is nice. John Derek either frames his shots with a spacious, wide frame or (cue the Wayne’s World guitar riff) extreme close-ups. The former is preferable to the latter, particularly when the story moves from the Middle East to Spain.
Ghosts Can’t Do It is nearly unwatchable. Katie (Bo Derek) is crestfallen after her husband Scott (Anthony Quinn) commits suicide. However, he’s able to communicate with her from beyond the grave. Only Katie can hear what her dead husband has to say. He hatches a plan to have her murder a man so he can inhabit a fresh body, and reunite with his wife once more. Hilarities do not ensue.
I get that Bo Derek was famous for her gorgeous looks, but the nudity in Ghosts Can’t Do It is very random. There’s less of a reason for it here than in Bolero. The odd concept of this comedy could result in some funny scenes, yet other characters in the flick don’t seem to react to Bo Derek chit-chatting away at nothing. Even worse, all the scenes of Anthony Quinn talking as a ghost are filmed in extreme close-ups with a super-imposed lake over his face. The classic TV show Quantum Leap did a great job setting up comedic situations where Scott Bakula was talking to an invisible Dean Stockwell. The gag doesn’t work in Ghosts Can’t Do It because the human and the ghost are never in the same frame together.
Bolero has a decent transfer with some rich colors on display. Ghosts Can’t Do It looks far too soft with tons of grain. Both are solid in the audio department with crisp 2-channel DTS-HD sound mixes.