Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

For the weekend: 6 great comedies

Buster and that house falling on him: STEAMBOAT BILL JR. (1928)

After being blown around by a cyclone in this film, a dazed Buster Keaton stops in the middle of a street to catch his breath. As he stares unblinking at the camera, the front wall of a two-story house crashes down on him. But he escapes unhurt because his body is perfectly framed by an open window. Eighty years on, it still looks impossible. And dangerous. The 4,000-lb. house front was on a hinge, and Keaton drove a nail in the ground to mark his position. The window was just big enough to give him two inches of clearance on either side. Minutes before shooting, Keaton noticed a few crew members praying. He also saw the cameraman turn away as the shot rolled. Buster later called the stunt one of his “greatest thrills,” then added, “I was mad at the time, or I would never have done the thing.”
BRINGING UP BABY, 1938. It gets me every time. Hawks, Cary, Kate, the dog with the bone, the dinosaur ....

SOME LIKE IT HOT, 1959. Nuff said. We love it here, its always in my Top Ten, ever since I saw it for the first time as a kid. Everyone is perfect, Joan Shawlee as Sweet Sue, even the bellboy with the hots for Josephine, its the best scripted and played comedy, Marilyn, Tony and Jack are all at their zenith ... as was Wilder.
ONE, TWO, THREE - 1961. Maybe Wilder's last great comedy, for me at any rate.

WHAT'S UP DOC?. Bogdanovich's amiable re-thread of BRINGING UP BABY, in 1971. Well, Hawks remade his own films, why shouldn't somebody else?
and of course:
"I am not "A" Eunice Burns, I am "THE" Eunice Burns!" Madeline Kahn ! plus Barbra hanging from the ledge as the hotel room goes up in flames...

WHATS NEW PUSSYCAT? - my 1965 favourite, bring on the girls and the Peters and the young Woody, take them to Paris and have a lot of fun ....(pals Stan and Mike loved it too - we used to quote it). Clive Donner captures that mid-60s groove, and theres Romy, Capucine, Ursula and Paula ....while Burt Bacharach provides the music (I had the soundtrack album).
There are some later comedies like the first PINK PANTHER in '63, Lester's THE RITZ in 1976 (thats being reviewed soon) and of course, AIRPLANE! and Julie's THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, but these six will keep me going for now. 
Coming up:W.C. Fields shorts, like THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER.
More on all these, including screwball comedy, at Comedy label.
Soon: 6 great musicals / 6 great epics / 6 great westerns / 6 great dramas .....

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