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Case Number 06569: Small Claims Court

Titler

Picture Park // 2000 // 6 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge George Hatch (Retired) // April 12th, 2005

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All Rise...

Had this man been Germany's leader, Judge George Hatch thinks WWII might never have occurred.

The Charge

"Ring-ring, ring-ring
Ring-ring, ring-ring
Hello, Mom, it's me. I think I'm gay."
—Titler

The Case

One of my first reviews for DVD Verdict was for an extremely bad movie that paid homage to (or simply ripped off) Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily? trope. New dialogue was looped over a sci-fi stinker from the 1950s, and the director tried to make it contemporary, socially relevant, and funny. It failed in all three categories. But a few brief clips that came from another source caught my attention. They were part of a short film called Titler, with songs written and performed by Greg Roman and directed by Jonathan Bekemeier.

This Titler character sports the notorious Hitler mustache and bangs but has a penchant for wearing tasteful black evening gowns and very un-PC fur stoles, both accented with well-worn combat boots. "He re-imagines light-hearted Broadway show tunes and turns them into erotic odes to homosexuality, through a series of off-beat songs whose lyrics shed some light on his demented psyche."

By reading just a few of the lyrics, you will lose the impact of Greg Roman's inspired and hilarious performance, but here's a glimpse at each song. On this DVD, they are presented intentionally out of sequence in order to best condense the mood swings of Titler's tortured soul and his search for identity.

• "Nummer 05"
Titler calls his parents and tells them he's gay. After delivering this news, Greg Roman turns the father into a bellowing basso and the mother into a screeching soprano as they try to figure out where they went wrong in rearing their son.

We raised him right
He's good at school
He plays football
He acts so cool

• "Nummer 27"
The lyrics to this song can't be printed on a family site, but Titler ends up in Munchkin Land. I'll say no more.

• "Nummer 09"
Great actors can make the phonebook sound like Shakespeare. Here, Roman's Titler gives a soulful rendition of a French song that consists of only three words.

Pardon, Bonjour
Pardon, Bonjour
Pardon, Bonjour…fromage

• "Nummer 35"
This "nummer" is a real show-stopper. Titler takes the stage (an abandoned warehouse) for himself and belts out his version of Harold Arlen's "Let's Fall in Love."

Dogs do it, squirrels do,
And I've been told that even girls do it
Les'bian…les'bian love!

Apparently, Titler has a kinky bisexual side because the next two songs are love notes to an overweight woman and another in a wheelchair.

• "Nummer 17"
Holding a pooch, Titler does a terrific take on "That Girl."

She's got beautiful hair, and a real pretty face
But the rest of her just seems to go all over the place
Fat girl, fat girl,
Hey, please don't you feed fat girl

• "Nummer 69"
This buoyant tune emphasizes Titler's keen sense of rhyme, and some deft choreography shows off those tasty gams.

Diane Chutkowski, Diane Chutkowski,
Without her I'd feel lous-key

• "Nummer 31"
Next, Titler vents his frustration standing in front a wall covered by long pipes and round valves, symbolizing the Yin and Yang of his confused sexuality. (Yeah, right.)

I hate myself; I wish I was dead
But I don't know how to do it
I'll take some pills; I'll hang myself
It's too confusing, so screw it

• "Nummer 41"
The finale is a brassy and sassy song in German with rapidly edited close-ups of Titler hitting all of those high notes

Das Ende

There's not a second wasted in this gut-busting short. The songs neatly segue into the sounds of machine fire, storm troopers marching, dogs barking, nose-diving Luftwaffe, frantic telegraph beeps, and a rant by der Fuhrer himself. Greg Roman throws himself into the role of Titler, and he's guaranteed to make you forget Charlie Chaplin's "Adenoid Hynkel" in The Great Dictator—at least for six minutes. If you're having some friends over for dinner and a movie in your home theater, hit them with this short before the main feature—perhaps, Schindler's List.

Running about the same time, Titler is much funnier than the "Springtime for Hitler" number in Mel Brooks's The Producers, and it's now available on DVD, along with other shorts of your choice from Picture Park. The full-screen transfer, shot in sepia for an interesting, antiquated look, is excellent. And the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo brings out every note of Titler's musical angst. Titler has won several awards, including Honorable Mentions at Sundance and The New England Film and Video Festival. It also earned "Judges Special Recognition" at MicroCineFest.

This judge sees no reason to disagree. Not guilty!

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 95

Perp Profile

Studio: Picture Park
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 6 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Short Films

Distinguishing Marks

• None

Accomplices

• IMDb








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