A manic comic parody made for $12,000,Chafed Elbows was a commercial success that raised the flag of the underground film scene and elevated the good cause of bad taste. Downey photographed most of the movie with a still 35mm camera and had the film processed at Walgreens drugstore. These pictures were animated alongside a few live-action scenes and almost all the dialogue was dubbed to rather hilarious effect. One scene was even shot in Anthology Film Archives’s upstairs theater back in the days when the building was still a defunct downtown courthouse. An ingenious comedy with a rare visual sensibility, comic-book playfulness and cheeky bad attitude.
All 13 of the female roles were played by Elsie Downey, Robert Downey's wife, and the lead male role by George Morgan.
Hapless Walter Dinsmore undergoes his annual November breakdown at the 1954 World’s Fair, has a love affair with his mother, recollects his hysterectomy operation, impersonates a cop, is sold as a piece of living art, goes to heaven, and becomes the singer in a rock band, but not necessarily in that order.