Monday, March 07, 2011
Mr. Ward and I were just debating whether or not GIGOT could be considered a sad clown movie. Oh, come on! You remember GIGOT! Jackie Gleason is Gigot, a French guy who can't talk. "He clowns for the children, doesn't he?" asked Mr. Ward. "And he's beaten by the adults." The character is in the sad clown tradition, then, I would say - especially the LA STRADA sad clown tradition - except that he never quite makes the jump to being an actual clown, though by necessity he expresses himself exclusively through the art of mime! But by profession, Gigot is a maintenance man. Still, I am certain there must be a scene in which he has big sad eyes and hands a mean person a flower. I should admit I've never seen it, and only ever heard of it through Mr. Ward's agonized retellings over the years. Just to be clear, though, a sad clown movie can't MERELY star a comedian who is acting sad. It must be ABOUT a professional entertainer who makes people laugh yet all the while his heart is breaking. Or, you know, he's tormented in some other secret fashion. Got it? Speaking of Jackie Gleason, I watched the entire movie SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT on one of these here movie channels last night, and I don't suppose I have seen it since it came out in 1977, and here is a line from SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT which I certainly didn't expect: "Do you know who I think revolutionized American musical theater? Stephen Sondheim." That's a line from SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT.