Perhaps the best science fiction comedy ever made came from Czechoslovakia.
Poor Henry! Henpecked at home by his scientist wife, beset by intractable technical difficulties at work, it’s no wonder that Professor Henry Beranek dreams of the buxom blonde star of the comic strip Who Wants To Kill Jesse? and her latest fictional invention, antigravity gloves.
Unfortunately, his wife is jealous. She injects him with a new drug she’s developed, one that eliminates disturbing dreams. What she does not realize is that the drug does not eliminate those dreams – it makes them real. Even worse, it isn’t just Jesse ( the impossibly beautiful Olga Schoberova) who’s come to life, but her two comic strip pursuers, a caped superman and a six-gun toting outlaw. They destroy the Beranek’s apartment and escape into the streets, setting off a mad chase which drags in the Police, the Army, Professor Beranek’s students, the Courts, an unsuspecting funeral party and a garbage truck.
Who Wants To Kill Jesse? is truly a rare gem, a gloriously absurdist comedy that keeps spinning off into new, unsuspected directions. The comic strip characters speak in cartoon bubbles which can be turned around in mid-air for a Court reporter to read, or burst by a knife. A cow, relieved of her gadfly dreams, dreams of swinging in a flower strewn hammock while a string quartet plays. The comic strip superman finds his attempted cremation refreshing. Along the way, it takes a few shots at Communism and the corruption rampant in Czech government. And somehow Henry triumphs over it all – until Jesse becomes a little too real.