Thursday, November 29, 2012

Short Cuts: The Sweetest Hippopotamus!

A Bravo!FACT short film

Before the Camera:

Haley Shannon as Suzette and Granddaughter
Ron Basch as Big Jack Montag
Suitcase Sam as Himself
Alex Appel as Eunice Montag
Luke Vitale as Ricky Raketti
Amanda Smith as Grandma Suzette
Shawn Goldberg as Clyde the Bartender
Robin Hatch as Cajun Belle

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Marc Roussel

Produced by Ron Basch, Angela Argento, Greg Machula, and Christina Carvalho

Written by Marc Roussel and Mark Thibodeau
Story by Ron Basch and Marc Roussel

Director of Photography: Robert Scarborough
Editors: John Nicholls and Mark Sanders
Production and Costume Design: Ashley Corley
Original Score: Christopher Guglick
Songs by Suitcase Sam
Additional Music by Robin Hatch

As her granddaughter tends to her in her final days, Suzette thinks back to her youth, when she was in an awful jam. She was born deaf and poor in the rough and tumble mill town of Big Pine. At night she struggles to pay off her daddy's gambling debts by working as a cigarette girl at Big Jack Montag's swinging club, The Sweet Hippo. Problem is, she has to give Big Jack more than just her time and half her tips. Then, Suitcase Sam walks in the door to play some music. He's vibrant and touches her heart. But Big Jack isn't going to let them walk off into the sunset. What's a girl to do?

Suitcase Sam serenades Suzette.

This is a very well mounted, though brief little period romantic drama. It runs just six minutes and change, but it tells a complete story of a very important turn of events in Suzette's life. I'm not sure if there are plans in the works to tell more of Suzette's stories, but the filmmakers hint that there might be. The short opens in color, but switches to crisp black and white for the flashback, which takes up the bulk of the running time. One suggestion I would make to the filmmakers right here - why not switch them? Have the opening with Suzette and her granddaughter in black and white, then let the picture bloom to glorious over-saturated color - making the memory even more vivid than real life.

The acting is fine, with Haley Shannon an appealing lead in both of her dual roles. Suitcase Sam has a couple of nice moments, and Ron Basch is well cast as the big-fish-in-a-little-pond Big Jack. The rest of the cast doesn't do much, but everybody does a nice job. Director Roussel brings a nice feel to the period section, and the crew manages some solid production value suggesting the time on a limited budget. The music is a big help here as well.

Having access to this car helps sell the period a lot, too!

All in all, while a little slight, this is a worthwhile watch, and I hope the short brings the cast and crew great success and opportunity!

Here's the short linked from YouTube:

My thanks to Maynard Morrissey of the always entertaining Horror Movie Diary for bringing this short to my attention!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Not big into shorts as they are always incomplete to me, somehow never finishing the story to my satisfaction. I really wish people would just do a full on film or at the very least 30 minutes. Anything less than that seems unfinished, more like an audition tape than entertainment. This sounds wonderful but again, I doubt the story would be finished enough for me to enjoy. This is why I don't read vignettes, it's not enough. I need fully developed beginning, middle and end and I never seem to find short films that have that.

    1. Have a watch Melissa, maybe you will enjoy it!!


    2. Thanks Anonymous! I did enjoy this more than I've ever really enjoyed a short before. I still wish it was longer as I have lots of questions and want more story, but this is very well done and does not feel as rushed or incomplete as most do to me.