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Archive for September 12th, 2011

by Pat Perry

Singing! Dancing! Jousting!

So reads the tagline on my DVD of “The Court Jester,” an apparent effort to encapsulate the film’s many charms in just three words.

Had I been given the assignment to write the DVD cover copy – and the option of adding a few words – I think I’d have described it thus: “Comedy Faster than the Speed of Sound!”

Because, honestly, the lingering impression you’re left with at the end of “The Court Jester” is not of the music (although some of it is quite good and the opening ditty, “Life Could Not Better Be” has been stuck in my head for days.) No rather, it’s the dizzying sensation of fast-flying one liners, sight gags, non-sequiturs and comic wordplay, much of which whizzes by too quickly to be comprehended in one viewing. The crack-bang comic timing is such a marked characteristic of “The Court Jester” that Norman Gottfried, in his biography of the film’s star, Danny Kaye, aptly noted “Often there is such meter and balance in the exchanges that the rhythm alone seems to be getting the laughs.” (more…)

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Godard's 1964 Bande A Part (Band of Outsiders) enjoyed a one-week run at Film Forum, where it was attended on Wednesday, 9/7 by WitD fraternity

by Sam Juliano

It was a venue that will bring a smile to Ed Howard’s face.  But Wednesday’s gathering at the Film Forum with Joel Bocko, Bob Clark and Dennis Polifroni was a reminder of how embattled director Jean-Luc Godard’s breezy film noir from 1964, Band of Outsiders shows the director at his entertaining best.  The film is playful and airy, yet in typical Godardian style it’s also dark and melancholic, and is suffused with all kind of reference points, including allusions to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Franz Kafka, Michel Legrand, Chaplin, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot and others.  And it’s splendidly photographed by Raoul Coutard.  In any case the film was a springboard to initiate discussion afterwards at the Dish in Chelsea.

The musical countdown continues with some fabulous essays from a host of writers, and the painstaking sidebar work from Dee Dee continues to greatly enhance and embellish the project.  Many thanks to all who continue to impart their insights and appreciation in the always animated comment threads.  Jamie Uhler’s incomparable “Getting Over the Beatles” series, one of the blogosphere’s most massive and scholarly pursuits continues to grace these pages, while both the Fish Obscuro and Bob Clark’s animation coverage continue to hit the mark.

This has been a difficult week for a number of reasons.  The funeral for one of my very best friend’s mother, where I was called upon to read one of the most beautiful son-to-mother eulogies I could ever imagine, and the start of school again limited my movie-going to a trickle, but as I stated earlier it really was great to meet up with the gang on Wednesday. Sunday of course was the tenth anniversary of that terrible happening in Manhattan that changed so many lives. (more…)

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