Movie Gags

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There are so many great movies. We know many of them in common, and many others, also great, are known but not in common. Everybody saw Chaplin, everybody saw Hitchcock; not everybody saw this film in Swedish, that film in Bengali, no matter how many awards the latter(s) won. If I remind you of a shtick in a Marx Brothers classic (or just mention WC Fields by that marvelously tasteless moniker), we laugh in common, know the joke. If I try to remind you of a gag in Bandits on the Wind, you probably didn’t see it, probably never heard of it.

Well, a sight gag from the inestimable Forbidden Games just came into my head. The farm family’s adult son gets kicked by the horse. The family stands over his sick bed. The guy is in agony. Mama measures a tonic into a spoon. Son dies. Mama pours the tonic back into the medicine bottle! waste not, want not. We’ve been tricked into laughing at a death: we’re implicated: it’s WW II! bombs on the road: death everywhere.

Forbidden Games, René Clément, 1952, won one Oscar, nominated for another, won eight internatinoal awards, hailed by some as the greatest of all: did you see it?

I here launch this scrapbook where I can recount some favorite jokes from foreign, obscure, ancient movies: at my leisure.

thanx criterion

from Movie Monthly: 2013 08 03 I’m just remembering a favorite movie I sure wish I could get on DVD, or even on tape: Bandits on the Wind. Once upon a time in the early 1960s, visiting my mother’s place on the Freeport River, brackish, tidal, the TV was on, and Mifune as Sanjuro, the Yojimbo grabbed my attention.

Mifune, as Sanjuro the Yojimbo
thanx screenredasia

I liked very much what the narrator was saying: about heroism. Quotes of other Japanese costume films followed. I was riveted: had the luck of finding a screening at the Toho Cinema by Carnegie Hall.
I love this movie, Inagaki, and revere it, but I’d never heard of it again. Struck out at IMDb: ah, but a hit just now:

There were a couple of things that made me laugh out loud:

  • The bandits group but they’re hardly friends. One does tell the others of the horrible time he had once working on a hidden castle. The workers were conscripted, enslaved, then killed at the completion of the job: castle is secret if everyone’s is dead. Oh, it was horrible, he goes on: men, women, cut to shreds. “How did you escape?” the others wonder.
    “I didn’t escape: I was one of the killers.”
  • I also loved it where the moron bandit who steals the Childe’s banner and goes riding around displaying it as though he’s the prince is compelled to go on playing the part of an aristocrat, sitting formally, cross-legged, how a prince would have spent his life. Finally the people he has to fool leave the room for a moment, and the bandit limps up, staggers around: he’s Japanese but he sure can’t sit cross-legged!
  • Ai, I’m so embarrassed. I glance at the IMDb page, it’s reviewed: by me! Totally forgot I’d found it previously.

    from Movie Monthly: 2013 08 03: 1952, 1953 … What great years to be just entering your teens. a slew of great movies. a cornucopia of talent. It was an extra blessing to be too young to notice McCarthy everywhere. and be unaware of who was missing: blackballed.
    We never have more than a fractional inventory of who’s been blackballed. Jesus wasn’t the first or last martyr. Me neither.
    Thank goodness Jan and I are watching Jules Dassin now. (PS. Blessed Event just popped into my memory. You really should know that great movie and its sabotaged crew.)

    Movies A — L   Movies M — Z

    About pk

    Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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