Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '65 - Matt Barry ""

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Underrated '65 - Matt Barry

Matt Barry is a New York City-based writer, filmmaker and all-around cinephile. His favorite genres are classic comedies and film noir. You can read more of his thoughts on film at his blog, The Art and Culture of Movies ( also his Underrated Thrillers list:

In 1965, Buster Keaton appeared in an advertising film for the National Film Board of Canada called THE RAILRODDER, which followed the silent comedy genius on a cross-country trip by railcar on the Canadian National Railway line. Concurrent with that film, John Spotton directed this 55-minute documentary, partly a behind-the-scenes look at the making of THE RAILRODDER, and partly an appreciation of Keaton's career. This fascinating documentary captures Keaton's working methods, revealing the extreme care and attention to detail that he brought to his work even in industrial films, and proves that, at the age of 70, Keaton's mind and body were as sharp as ever when it came to conceiving and executing brilliant physical gags.

LAUREL AND HARDY'S LAUGHING 20's (1965; Robert Youngson)
One of the best of Robert Youngson's silent comedy compilations made during the '60s, this one highlights classic scenes from Laurel and Hardy's silent two-reelers, along with scenes from films starring other Hal Roach Studio comedians such as Charley Chase and Max Davidson. Punched up with narration, new music scores and sound effects, Youngson helped introduce these classic comedies to a new generation. 

THE FAMILY JEWELS (1965; Jerry Lewis)
Jerry Lewis' last directorial effort for Paramount -- coming at the end of his long and highly successful tenure with that studio -- is one of his best performance showcases, as he gets to play no fewer than seven characters. The story involves a wealthy young girl who, with the help of the family chauffeur (Lewis) has to choose which one of her six eccentric uncles (Lewis again) will become her guardian. Lewis clearly has a lot of fun creating distinctive comic personalities for each of the characters he plays. including -- in an interesting twist -- that of a mean circus clown who hates children. 

Jim Henson's experimental short -- combining live-action and stop-motion animation and punctuated by rhythmic editing -- weaves together a parade of zany images and sounds into an utterly brilliant satire on the overwhelming pace of modern life.

BREAK UP (1965; Marco Ferreri)
This obscure and rarely-seen Italian comedy by Marco Ferreri has a checkered history, being released in at least two different versions (including as THE MAN WITH THE BALLOONS in 1968). It was, however, released under the title BREAK UP in 1965, and so I'm including it on this list. Marcello Mastroianni stars in this strange story of a businessman whose obsession with balloons, and finding out how much air they can hold before bursting, eventually causes his marriage and relationships to fall apart. The highlight is the scene in which a delirious Mastroianni enters a club, filled with hundreds of balloons of various sizes, and goes on a frenzied balloon-bursting rampage.

1 comment:

S.B. Prime said...

BREAK-UP sounds absolutely fucking incredible. I can't wait!