Duke Mitchell first made a name for himself as one half of a Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis-type nightclub act. The self-proclaimed "Mr. Palm Springs" utilized his experiences singing in family-run businesses as inspiration for his low-budget gangster movie, Massacre Mafia Style (a.k.a., The Executioner), which was a hit only in the cult film/midnight movie crowd. Bob Murawski (Oscar-winning editor of The Hurt Locker) and Sage Stallone (son of Sylvester) went looking for a good print of Massacre Mafia Style to hopefully re-release it, but ended up finding Mitchell's never-finished caper movie Kiss the Ring. The two spent years reassembling the film, retitled it Gone with the Pope and have now given this brain-busting flick about four criminals kidnapping the Pope and holding him for ransom ($1 from every Catholic) to an unsuspecting world. Crass, cheap and unselfconsciously entertaining, Gone with the Pope stars Mitchell as the no-bullshit leader of the gang; he also wrote it, directed it and composed the music. You have to see it to believe it. Gone with the Pope screens at midnight Friday and Saturday (July 30 and 31) at the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-995-6270). Tickets are $9.
Fri., July 30; Sat., July 31, 2010