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National Lampoon's Animal House

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie

National Lampoon's Animal House (also called Animal House) is a 1978 comedy film in which a misfit group of Delta fraternity boys takes on the system at their college. It stars John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Karen Allen, John Vernon, Thomas Hulce, Cesare Danova, Peter Riegert, Mary Louise Weller, Stephen Furst, James Daughton, Bruce McGill, Mark Metcalf, James Widdoes, Martha Smith, Kevin Bacon (in his film debut) and Donald Sutherland.

The movie was adapted by Douglas Kenney, Christopher Miller and Harold Ramis from stories that had originally been written by Miller and published in National Lampoon magazine. It was directed by John Landis. In 2001 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. Produced on a scanty $3 million budget, the film has turned out to be one of the most profitable of all time; since its initial release, Animal House has garnered an estimated return of more than $200 million in the form of video and DVDs, not to mention merchandising.

Contents

Plot summary

Faber college, 1962. Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement are but the faintest blips on the horizon. A 1950s mentality prevails on campus, typified by the Omegas--the "nice boy" frat, dominated by Greg Marmalard and Douglas Niedermeyer, the nefarious, strutting head of the ROTC program. At the other end of Fraternity Row, both literally and figuratively, stands the Delta House, a repository for every campus misfit: Eric 'Otter' Stratton, the Playboy-style sex maniac (whose room is an uncannily pristine oasis within the sheer filth of the house); Donald 'Boon' Schoenstein, Otter's best friend who is always deciding between his pals at the Delta House and his girlfriend, Katy; 'Bluto' Blutarsky, an abject, drunken degenerate; Robert Hoover, the affable, reasonably clean-cut president of the fraternity, who desperately struggles to maintain a fašade of normalcy for the Dean; Daniel Simpson Day (a.k.a. D-Day), a tough biker with a penchant for riding up the stairs; Stork, who was probably borderline autistic; and the two new pledges, Larry 'Pinto' Kroger, a shy but normal fellow, and Kent 'Flounder' Dorfman, a hopelessly fat, clumsy loser--a "total zero", even by Delta standards.

Dean Vernon Wormer, in cahoots with the Omegas, is constantly plotting to revoke the Deltas' charter and drive them off campus permanently. The main Omegas include: Gregg Marmalard, the president of Omega House who dates Mandy Pepperidge and suffers from impotence; Sergeant-at-Arms Doug Niedermeyer, who is the head of the ROTC and hates the Deltas with unbridled passion; and Chip Diller, the Omegas newest pledge.

Other characters of importance include: Professor Dave Jennings, who is bored with his job as English teacher; Marion Wormer, the Dean's wife, who becomes the object of Otter's charms; Clorette DePasto, the mayor's underaged daughter, who (possibly) sleeps with Larry; Otis Day, a local singer who is a campus favorite; Mandy Pepperidge, who dates Gregg but secretly loves Otter; and Babs Jansen, a proper southern belle who is turned off by crude Deltas.

Analysis

The film has become known as the ultimate fraternity film; for better or worse, it has promoted many stereotypes and formed a distinct image of fraternities in American culture. Twenty-seven years after its release, Animal House still exerts a powerful influence on today's college students. Despite having been born well after the film was released, students--especially men--on Amercan campuses can often be seen wearing shirts emulating the Belushi character's generic "College" model. Quoting liberally from the film is a popular leisure activity, particularly at social events. In addition, the film is notable for having introduced the toga party to popular college culture. Before the movie's release, toga parties were apparently quite rare, but after 1978 many campuses experienced a massive upsurge of them.

Missing image
Animal_House_Deltas.jpg
The Deltas in front of their house


Trivia

This movie was filmed at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, and features numerous buildings from that campus and the surrounding area; however, the idea for script of the movie derived from Miller's experience at his own fraternity at Dartmouth College, one of the Ivy League colleges, in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The motto of Faber College (as inscripted on the statue of founder Emil Faber shown at the beginning of the film) was "Knowledge is Good."

In one scene during the infamous "toga party", John Belushi's character, Bluto Blutarsky, smashes an acoustic guitar belonging to a folk singer (portrayed by singer/songwriter Stephen Bishop, who is credited as "Charming Guy With Guitar") who is serenading a group of girls girls with the song I Gave My Love a Cherry That Had No Stone. Bluto then hands him a splintered piece and says "Sorry." This sight gag has been imitated on TV several times, most memorably by Lt. Commander Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The movie features the on-screen debut of Kevin Bacon, who portrayed Omega pledge Chip Diller.

The highest-paid member of the cast was Donald Sutherland, who received $40,000 for his apperance. Sutherland's casting was essential for the movie being picked up by Universal.

Surprisingly, the censors allowed through a scene that clearly implies statutory rape, or at least the possibility of it.

The film also inspired a short-lived half-hour television sitcom, Delta House, in which the late John Vernon reprised his role as the long-suffering, malevolent Dean Wormer.

Bloopers

Although the action takes place only sixteen years prior to the date the film was made (i.e., as though someone today made a film set in 1990 or thereabouts), the intervening time span had seen much more dramatic change in styles, technological development, politics and social attitudes. As a result, any anachronisms stand out sharply:

  • In the parade scene, numerous extras sporting the long hair and bellbottoms characteristic of the late 1970s are visible among the spectators, as are several automobiles from that period.
  • When hapless Delta pledge Pinto attempts to shoplift from a local grocery store, he meets the mayor's gum-smacking 13-year-old daughter, who is working the cash register and whom he later dates at his peril (see above). The cash register anachronistically features an LED (Light Emitting Diode) display. Interestingly, 1962 was the very year in which Nick Holonyak Jr. created the first practical visible-spectrum LED, but the technology did not come into everyday use until several years later.
  • Similarly, while Boon and Katie are getting stoned at Professor Jennings' apartment, they sing Hey, Paula, which was not released until 1963.
  • At the party following the induction of Pinto and Flounder into the fraternity, the Delta frathouse jukebox plays the song Louie, Louie as performed by The Kingsmen, which would in turn become an integral to countless parties staged by U.S. college students seeking to emulate Animal House. However, The Kingsmen didn't record their version of the song until April 1963.
  • Flounder's Lincoln Continental, which the boys eventually convert into the "Deathmobile," was actually a 1964 model, although the "suicide doors" were typical of that period.
  • When actress Karen Allen is shown in a kitchen, she passes a refrigerator decorated with a sticker from the Bicentennial--fourteen years in the future, but two years before the film was actually produced.

Tagline: It was the Deltas against the rules... the rules lost!

Famous quotes

  • Boon: It's not gonna be an orgy. It's a toga party!
  • Bluto: They took the bar! The whole fucking bar!
  • Boon: They can't do that to our pledges. Only we can do that to our pledges.
  • Dean Wormer: Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.
  • Bluto: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the...Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO!
  • Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga!
  • Otter: You fucked up. You trusted us.
  • Bluto: Christ. Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the fuckin' Peace Corps.
  • Wormer: I hate those guys.
  • Bluto: My advice to you . . . is to start drinking heavily.
  • Otter: We are gonna die.
    Pinto: (adding) Boon, we're the only white people here!
  • Boon: We were just. . .Leaving! What a good idea!
  • Wormer: Every Halloween the trees are full of underwear. . .every spring, the toilets. . .explode.
  • Niedermeyer: A pledge pin?! On your uniform?!
  • Mandy: Gregg, is it supposed to be this soft?
  • Mrs. Wormer: People are sensual. . .vegetables are sensuous.
  • Otter: Face it, Flounder. You didn't throw up in front of Dean Wormer, you threw up on Dean Wormer.
  • Bluto: I'm a zit! Get it?
  • Wormer: (to Bluto) Mr. Blutarsky. . .zero-point-zero.


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