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Truly Annoying Comic Relief


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What is the evolution of the word "baloney" from bologna?

I'm not quite certain.

 

I once heard a story, though, about an old time prospector, Festus T. Beanstalk, who loved the bologna sandwiches his Mom always made for him (apparently she was very, very old).

 

One day, though, Festus got some bad bologna and spat it out, immediately proclaiming, "BAH . . .  a loony only would like this!"

 

Somehow, with the repetition of this tale over the years, from generation to generation, "Bah . . . a loony"  became "baloney."

 

Now some may call this story baloney, but whenever I bite into a bologna sandwich I often give a passing thought to ol' Festus happily munching away, whiskers and all.

 

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The only known photograph of Festus, apparently taken after he had just had a particularly good bologna sandwich. His resemblance to a certain Roy Rogers sidekick is strictly a coincidence.

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One of the reasons I'm somewhat unenthusiastic about John Ford's claims to be one of the great directors was that his comic relief never really worked for me.  McCarey and Hitchcock were clearly funnier, and we're just dealing with the limited set of directors who were conservative Catholics. 

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One of the reasons I'm somewhat unenthusiastic about John Ford's claims to be one of the great directors was that his comic relief never really worked for me.  McCarey and Hitchcock were clearly funnier, and we're just dealing with the limited set of directors who were conservative Catholics. 

I totally agree.  I have always thought John Ford was way overrated.  Lots of "Golden Age" directors who I think are more versatile and more skilled overall.

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Alreet Janet, I'll mention Joe Besser. 

 

      I was waxing nostalgic watching "The New Scooby-Doo" movies -- these were originally produced in 1972/73 -- on the Boomerang Network.  They air at 11 AM weekdays, btw.  The 'Guest Star' Monday was Jeannie (as in "I Dream of Jeannie", but the cartoon-show version with different characters; no astronauts!) and Joe Besser was the voice of the long-time apprentice genie 'Babu' complete with red and pink genie garb and two long earrings on each side. 

 

     So that is my Joe Besser 'story'.      

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I agree with skimpole--if Ford had a sense of humor, it was rarely in evidence.  But Ford's westerns are mostly good (Fort Apache) to marvelous (The Searchers--& he didn't try to have a sense of humor in this film).  His non-western films are good (Drums Along the Mohawk) to dreadful (Seven Women).

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I agree with skimpole--if Ford had a sense of humor, it was rarely in evidence.  But Ford's westerns are mostly good (Fort Apache) to marvelous (The Searchers--& he didn't try to have a sense of humor in this film).  His non-western films are good (Drums Along the Mohawk) to dreadful (Seven Women).

Yes, Drums Along the Mohawk is a winner (even if it is Ford.)

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I agree with skimpole--if Ford had a sense of humor, it was rarely in evidence.  But Ford's westerns are mostly good (Fort Apache) to marvelous (The Searchers--& he didn't try to have a sense of humor in this film).  His non-western films are good (Drums Along the Mohawk) to dreadful (Seven Women).

 

Hmmmm...so how would you rate the following three of Ford's non-westerns, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY and THE LAST HURRAH ?

 

I ask because, while I'll agree that Ford's use of comic relief seems often strained, AND while I must also admit I too might have thought of him as overrated in my younger days, the more times I've watched his films these past few decades, I now think the man deserved all the accolades which have been bestowed upon his work.

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Hmmmm...so how would you rate the following three of Ford's non-westerns, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY and THE LAST HURRAH ?

 

I ask because, while I'll agree that Ford's use of comic relief seems often strained, AND while I must also admit I too might have thought of him as overrated in my younger days, the more times I've watched his films these past few decades, I now think the man deserved all the accolades which have been bestowed upon his work.

THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING had plenty of comic relief.

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I can't believe nobody's mentioned Joe Besser.

 

Besser was put perfectly in his place as Stinky on THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW.  He fit superbly into that bizarre framework (First Season, of course) and his scenes are downright hysterical.  I also remember him fondly on THE JOEY BISHOP SHOW.  As a Stooge, however, he was a letdown.  I'm sure he was very funny on stage.

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Hmmmm...so how would you rate the following three of Ford's non-westerns, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY and THE LAST HURRAH ?

 

I ask because, while I'll agree that Ford's use of comic relief seems often strained, AND while I must also admit I too might have thought of him as overrated in my younger days, the more times I've watched his films these past few decades, I now think the man deserved all the accolades which have been bestowed upon his work.

Hmmm....well then, maybe it was the editing...

 

Just watched THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE for the umpteenth time last night.  I know it was made late in Ford's career, but I noticed something I never noticed in 50 years of watching this movie----

 

In the segment where they're having the big convention to nominate and decide on a delegate to Washington..either Buck Langhorne, or Ransom Stoddard, there's scenes shot from the BACK of the hall, just beyond the two swinging doors and facing the stage.

 

We see the "statehood" people on the left, and the Langhorne supporters on the right of the screen.  But, when the scene shifts to  where we get the shot of the audience from the STAGE, the statehood people are still on the left, and Langhorne's people are still on the RIGHT.  Not transposed as you'd expect to see.  So, apparently Ford was slowing down in those days.

 

But it also brings up the matter of Andy Devine as "comic relief".

 

It's true, that Devine's Linc Appleyard was placed as a comic foil to the overwhelming drama of the film, but that duty was also shared with  the oft inebriated Dunton Peabody( Edmund O'Brien) . And a couple other characters offer some lightness.

 

Devine's Appleyard really wasn't that annoying, as his presence's were generally timed to lighten up a scene in which other directors might have ladled on the melodrama too thick.   But in other scenes, Devine's Appleyard showed seriousness in proper ammounts to the situation, and indicated the character knew full well how dire the situation is, or can get, and no goofball clownish cowardice was portrayed, as it was in earlier or other scenes.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Replying to Dargos' post re  The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley & The Last Hurrah:

 

The Grapes of Wrath--overpoweringly downbeat film--Oscar winning performance by Jane Darwell as Ma Joad, & Henry Fonda should have won as Tom Joad IMO

 

How Green Was My Valley--Gorgeous soundtrack, probably the best of Fords' non-westerns--lovely film to look at--deserved the Oscar acting nominations it received (Ford could get wonderful performances from his cast(s)--Ford got a Best Director nod (win?) for HGWMV.

 

The Last Hurrah--have not seen, can't comment.

 

Reading my post, I should have mentioned The Quiet Man as a film where Ford does let his sense of humor carry the film.  My mistake.

 

DownGoesFrazier--The Whole Town's Talking is another film I've yet to see.

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Replying to Dargos' post re  The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley & The Last Hurrah:

 

The Grapes of Wrath--overpoweringly downbeat film--Oscar winning performance by Jane Darwell as Ma Joad, & Henry Fonda should have won as Tom Joad IMO

 

How Green Was My Valley--Gorgeous soundtrack, probably the best of Fords' non-westerns--lovely film to look at--deserved the Oscar acting nominations it received (Ford could get wonderful performances from his cast(s)--Ford got a Best Director nod (win?) for HGWMV.

 

The Last Hurrah--have not seen, can't comment.

 

Reading my post, I should have mentioned The Quiet Man as a film where Ford does let his sense of humor carry the film.  My mistake.

 

DownGoesFrazier--The Whole Town's Talking is another film I've yet to see.

The best thing about THE LAST HURRAH was the gallery of old-time stars who had roles. For many, it was their last, or close to their last, film. The title was right on point.

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The best thing about THE LAST HURRAH was the gallery of old-time stars who had roles. For many, it was their last, or close to their last, film. The title was right on point.

 

Well yeah, there's that, and maybe it being one of the better takes on the issue of political workings. I always thought Ford's insights and his fairly evenhanded look into this process, both the good and bad, made that film memorable.

 

(...and a perfectly cast Spencer Tracy at his best too, of course)

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Even though this is a newer movie I thought the second half of the 1997 movie "THE FIFTH ELEMENT" was considerably irritating due to the director (Luc Besson, I believe) giving so much air time of the latter part of the film to the over-the-top antics of Chris Tucker, who played a radio host.  I do not recall laughing at all, but I know I was aggravated and have not watched the movie since.   

 

     He and Robert Blake (from 1996's "Money Train") should have competed for the OTT Awards for the years 1996/97. 

 

     In a way, "THE FIFTH ELEMENT" reminded me of the 1966 Western "THE PROFESSIONALS" in that Lee Marvin was mainly the focus of the first half of the film and then Burt Lancaster's character was the primary focus of the second half.  Except I like "THE PROFESSIONALS".  Luc Besson should've just let Bruce Willis remain the star of both halves of "Fifth Element" and I'd have liked it more.  Dunno what Luc was thinking . . .

 

     'nuff said.

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Even though this is a newer movie I thought the second half of the 1997 movie "THE FIFTH ELEMENT" was considerably irritating due to the director (Luc Besson, I believe) giving so much air time of the latter part of the film to the over-the-top antics of Chris Tucker, who played a radio host.  I do not recall laughing at all, but I know I was aggravated and have not watched the movie since.   

 

    

I agree. The Fifth Element is an entertaining sci fi futuristic fantasy, with breath taking art direction, but every time Chris Tucker's drag queen act (or whatever the heck he was) appears on screen I shudder. He's NOT (!!!) funny! He IS irritating!

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The best thing about THE LAST HURRAH was the gallery of old-time stars who had roles. For many, it was their last, or close to their last, film. The title was right on point.

A wonderful Tracy performance has a lot to do with that film's effectiveness, as well.

 

But the film also has one of Ed Brophy's finest performances, as Ditto.

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I wonder what Besson was thinking by allowing so much of Tucker's un-funny act to remain in the finished film?  When supposed-to-be funny stuff doesn't work and comes off as irritating I think it's better to cut it out of the picture.  So why didn't Luc?    

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