Friday, April 29, 2016


 PIERRE RICHARD (born Pierre-Richard Defays; August 16, 1934) is a popular French actor best known for the roles of a clumsy daydreamer in comedy films.  Richard is considered to be one of the greatest and most talented French comedians in the last 50 years.  He is also a film director and occasional singer.  He began performing in the Paris Music Halls and grew into a brilliant physical comedian.  Graduating on to film, he became an international star with THE TALL BLOND MAN WITH ONE BLACK SHOE.

 Richard was born in Valenciennes, Nord.  He started his acting career at the theatre.  He worked with Yves Robert on Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire and its sequel Le retour du grand blond; both these films were written by Francis Veber.  Veber cast Richard while directing his own first feature film: Le Jouet.  Veber and Richard had a long and successful partnership during the 1980s, highlighted by three comedies – La Chèvre, Les Compères and Les Fugitifs – which paired Richard with Gérard Depardieu.  Richard again moved behind the camera to direct On peut toujours rêver (1991) and Droit dans le mur (1997).

 Three months after the end of Le Grand Blond avec une chaussure noire, Francois Perrin, the Tall Blond Man, (who has been living happily with his lover Christine in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is once again press-ganged into service.  Chief of Counter-Espionage Colonel Toulouse has a new boss — the former Minister of Agriculture has become the Minister of Interior.  Captain Cambrai (who has been investigating Colonel Milan's death and who is extremely suspicious of Toulouse's involvement) intercepts a letter written by Perrin to his best friend Maurice (who has recovered from his nervous breakdown of the previous film) in which Perrin assures Maurice that he (Maurice) is not crazy and that the events causing Maurice's breakdown actually happened. When Maurice refuses to testify against Toulouse, Cambrai comes up with another plan.

At Cambrai's urging, the new Minister wants to meet the supposed "super-agent."  Toulouse, who can't let anybody know that the Tall Blond was really a civilian chosen at random, orders that Perrin be liquidated at once while informing the Minister and Cambrai that The Tall Blond was killed while on a mission.  Attempts to assassinate Perrin in Rio are comically avoided or bungled and his funeral (held in France after an erroneously premature report of his death and with a coffin filled with sand) is likewise a comic failure; the Minister becomes increasingly confused by the conflicting reports and Cambrai, who had counted on the report of Perrin's death to get Maurice to testify, is equally stymied.

Eventually, Toulouse has Christine kidnapped and forces Perrin to return to Paris to act out the part of the supposed "super-spy" for the Minister. Cambrai is not fooled, however, and in two hilarious scenes Perrin is given embarrassing information from both Toulouse and Cambrai about each of them from their private files (Toulouse's mother had wanted a daughter and made him wear dresses as a child, causing the other boys to call him "Lollipop", and Cambrai [who acts tough and ruthless] wet his bed when he was young, really hates violence and had suffered an nervous breakdown while trying to interrogate a suspect).  Toulouse orchestrates a plan to make Cambrai crack again, setting up a supposedly dangerous yet cleverly stage-managed and choreographed "mission" for The Tall Blond while he is being followed by Maurice and Cambrai (who will supposedly be unable to handle the "violence"); the plot seems to work, but then Cambrai learns that Perrin's gun (which Cambrai had used to shoot and "kill" an attacking thug) was really loaded with blanks.

Believing Cambrai finished (and after yet another attempt to kill Perrin comically fails), Toulouse orders Christine to be released, but when she, Toulouse and Perrache arrive at Perrin's apartment they find him in a compromising situation, in bed with his former lover Paulette (actually a set-up by Cambrai and Maurice).  Rushing out in tears over Perrin's supposed faithlessness, Christine is met outside by Cambrai and Maurice. That night, at a symphony concert at which Perrin is performing and which Toulouse, Perrache, Cambrai, the Minister and two of Toulouse's men (who have been instructed to kill Perrin during the performance) are attending, Cambrai informs Toulouse that should anything happen to Perrin Maurice will testify, causing Toulouse to immediately call off his men.  Christine appears again, in her usual dazzling clothes (a white backless dress, this time) and armed with a gun; she tries to shoot Francois on stage (in time to the music).  Perrin is apparently killed and Maurice announces that he will testify. Toulouse, backed into a corner, attempts to take Christine hostage, but then Perrin rises up-Christine's gun was also loaded with blanks.  Toulouse, exposed in public, accepts his defeat with good grace and is allowed by Cambrai to commit suicide to avoid prison and disgrace.  Of course, Toulouse (unknown to everyone else) fakes his suicide, and he and Perrache make their escape.  Cambrai gets punched out by Perrin and the film ends with Boy Getting Girl Back and Ending Happily Ever After- even though the Minister still has no idea what's going on.

Pierre Richard  as  François Perrin
Jean Carmet  as  Maurice Lefebvre
Jean Rochefort as Colonel Louis
Mireille Darc as Christine
Paul Le Person as Perrache

 Director: Yves Robert
Writers: Yves Robert (screenplay), Francis Veber (screenplay)


Friday, April 15, 2016

Bud ABBOTT & Lou COSTELLO Africa Screams (1949) Plus: Colgate Comedy Hour, Sitcom, Hanna Barbera Cartoon, Who's On First?

BUD ABBOTT  (born William Alexander Abbott on October 2, 1895 in Asbury Park, New Jersey) and LOU COSTELLO (born Louis Francis Cristillo on March 6, 1906 in Paterson, N.J.)

The two burlesque comedians first worked together in 1935 at the Eltinge Burlesque Theater on 42nd Street, NYC; while regulars on the Kate Smith radio show (starting 1938), they gained fame in the Broadway review "The Streets of Paris" (1939) headlined by Bobby Clark and Carmen Miranda.  Lured to Hollywood by Universal Studios in 1940 to co-star in "One Night in the Tropics" starring Bob Cummings, they moved on to starring in their next film, the comedy classic, BUCK PRIVATES (1941), a military service comedy.  Bud and Lou made 36 films together between 1940 and 1956. They were among the most popular and highest-paid entertainers in the world during World War II.

AFRICA SCREAMS (1949) directed by Charles Barton which parodied the safari genre of the day (the title is a play on the title of the 1930 documentary Africa Speaks!)  It was filmed from November 10 through December 22, 1948 at the Nassour Studios in L.A.: and was was produced by A & P heir Huntington Hartford.  The film was the first one of the independently financed productions that Abbott and Costello made while they were under contract with Universal, and it was released by United Artists.  Africa Screams marked the first time that Abbott and Costello worked with Hillary Brooke and Joe Besser; both actors would later become part of the ensemble cast for the duo's television series The Abbott and Costello Show. The film also marked the only time that Shemp Howard and Joe Besser appeared together in a film; Besser would replace Howard as one of the Three Stooges following the latter's death in 1955.


In 1951, they moved to television as rotating hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour. (Eddie Cantor and Martin and Lewis were among the others.) Each show was a live hour of vaudeville in front of an audience, revitalizing the comedians' performances and giving their old routines a new sparkle.


For two seasons from late 1952 to early 1954, a filmed half-hour series, The Abbott and Costello Show, appeared in syndication on local stations across the United States. Loosely based on their radio series, the show cast the duo as unemployed wastrels. One of the show's running gags involved Abbott perpetually nagging Costello to get a job to pay their rent, while Abbott barely lifted a finger in that direction. The show featured Sidney Fields as the landlord of the rooming house in which they lived, and Hillary Brooke as a friendly neighbor who sometimes got involved in the pair's schemes. Other regulars were future Stooge Joe Besser as Stinky, a whiny child in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit played by the clearly adult Besser, Gordon Jones as Mike the cop, who always lost patience with Lou, Joe Kirk (Costello's brother-in-law) as Mr. Bacciagalupe, an Italian immigrant caricature whose role varied with the requirements of the script, and Bobby Barber, who played many "extra" parts


In 1966, Abbott voiced his character in a series of 156 five-minute Abbott and Costello cartoons made by Hanna-Barbera.  Lou's character was voiced by Stan Irwin.


"Who's on First?" is Abbott and Costello's signature routine. (They, however, usually referred to it as "Baseball.") The sketch was based on other burlesque routines with similar wordplay. Depending upon the version, Abbott has either organized a new baseball team and the players have nicknames, or he points out the proliferation of nicknames in baseball (citing St. Louis Cardinals sibling pitchers Dizzy and Daffy Dean) before launching the routine. The infielders' nicknames are Who (first base), What (second base) and I Don't Know (third base). The longest version is seen in "The Actors' Home," an episode of their filmed TV series, in which "Who's on First?" constitutes the second half of the program. A live performance commemorating the opening day of the Lou Costello, Jr. Youth Foundation was recorded in 1947.

"Who's On First?"


Friday, April 1, 2016

Woody Allen WHAT'S UP, TIGER LILY? (1966)

What's Up, Tiger Lily? is a 1966 comedy film directed by Woody Allen in his feature-length directorial debut.  Allen took a Japanese spy film, International Secret Police: Key of Keys (Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi, 1965 Toho Co, Ltd.) starring Tatsuya Mihashi, Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama, and overdubbed it with completely original dialogue that had nothing to do with the plot of the original film.  By putting in new scenes and rearranging the order of existing scenes, he completely changed the tone of the film from a James Bond clone into a comedy about the search for the world's best egg salad recipe.

The plot provides the setup for a string of sight gags, puns, jokes based on Asian stereotypes, and general farce. The central plot involves the misadventures of secret agent Phil Moskowitz, hired by the Grand Exalted High Majah of Raspur ("a nonexistent but real-sounding country") to find a secret egg salad recipe that was stolen from him.

The movie has an ending unrelated to the plot, in which China Lee, a Playboy Playmate and then-wife of Allen's comic idol Mort Sahl, who does not appear elsewhere in the film, does a striptease while Allen explains that he promised he would put her in the film somewhere.  

Tatsuya Mihashi as Phil Moscowitz, a secret agent and self-described "lovable rogue" (other people call him "amiable zany")

Akiko Wakabayashi as Suki Yaki, a beautiful woman who seduces Phil and later works alongside him as a spy

Mie Hama as Teri Yaki, Suki's sister who helps Phil as well

Tadao Nakamaru as Shepherd Wong, an evil gang leader who has stolen the recipe for the world's greatest egg salad

Susumu Kurobe as Wing Fat, an evil gangster who teams up with Phil to steal the recipe from Shepherd Wong, but intends to keep it for himself

Sachio Sakai as Hoodlum
Hideyo Amamoto as Cobra Man
Tetsu Nakamura as Foreign Minister
Osman Yusuf as Gambler
Kumi Mizuno as Phil's date

Dubbed by:
Woody Allen, Julie Bennett, Frank Buxton, Louise Lasser, Len Maxwell, Mickey Rose

Woody Allen and The Lovin' Spoonful as Themselves


living on borrowed time...

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I recently returned to school; as of yet I don't have a major, but I have had a lot of minors... I was accused of "statutory rape," but my lawyer got the charge reduced to "unlawful entry"... He argued, how can you call it "rape" if she was already dead?... When found in a skid row motel with a missing girl's corpse in the bed, it's best to tell the authorities that the room was like that when you checked in... As an international superstar I try to set an example by giving back to the world and consider my trolling tween chatrooms for confused and lonely girls with daddy-issues a vocation... I formed a charity to help promiscuous teenage girls- get their start... I'm single, but "carried a torch" for my ex just long enough to set fire to her new boyfriend's car... I don't regret one day of our relationship- it was a Thursday... I want a real skinny girl; not because I think it's sexy, but it's likely she'll have poor self-esteem or a drug problem (those chicks'll do anything!)... However, I am a sucker for big tits... My dream is to settle down with a woman with whom I can have a child she wont try to drown...