Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Clown (1953)

Director: Robert Z. Leonard

Starring: Red Skelton, Jane Greer, Tim Considine, Loring Smith, Philip Ober, Lou LUbin, Fay Roope, Walter Reed, Billy Barty, Charles Bronson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: You'll cry...You'll laugh...You'll love it!

Plot: Once a famous Ziegfeld star, Dodo Delwyn, is reduced to playing clowns in burlesque and amusement parks as a result of his drinking. His son Little Dink idolizes Dodo and faithfully believes in a comeback. He persuades "Uncle" Goldie, Dodo's agent in the good old days, to find a booking for Dodo. He can't, and Dink is sent to live with his remarried-and-wealthy mother, Paula. The unhappy Dink runs back to his father. His welcome return gives Dodo the courage needed to try a knockabout TV show offered by Goldie.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

#15 on Project: Badass Charles Bronson

LEVEL OF BADASSICITY (10 being the highest): 7  Bronson (as Eddie) runs a dice game that Dodo (Skelton) loses a lot of dough in and Eddie insists on Dodo paying up.  Dodo had no idea how close he came to certain death as Bronson would have pulverized him and that would have been the end of one of the funniest men on the planet.  One punch from Bronson to Skelton's kisser and it would have been the day the laughter died.

Red Skelton really was one of the funniest guys on the planet.  He was incredibly good at making people laugh.  My dad told me a story when I was a kid that on Skelton's 1950s TV show he had a woman reach into his pocket to pull out some object and while she was in his pocket she said, "I feel crazy doing this", to which he replied without missing a beat, "Dig a little deeper and you'll feel nuts.".  I hope that's a true story. 

THE CLOWN is heartbreaking.  Even though Skelton is incredibly funny he's also able to bring out the pathos of Dodo that's gut-wrenching.  It's a powerful performance.  He plays optimistically hopeless very well.  Tim Considine who plays his son, Dink, is fantastic as well. These two actors make their relationship real which is the reason this picture works so well.  Sure, it's well written, directed, shot, scored, etc, but it's the central performances from these two and their chemistry that knocks this picture out of the park.  I was laughing my ass off and bawling like a baby at the end.  What a remarkable picture.

No comments:

Post a Comment