Tracker Pixel for Entry

​NEW BLU-RAYS REVISIT UNDERRATED COMEDIES

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Theatre | March 31st, 2016

Last month a couple of overlooked comedies from the mid-60s and early 70s made their Blu-ray debuts. Both were box office disappointments when originally released and continue to elicit mixed responses, but have gained fans over the intervening decades.

Peter Sellers and Victor Mature star in “After the Fox” (1966), Vittoria DeSica’s entertaining satire on heist films, Italian culture, and the magical power of movies themselves over the public, filmmakers, and critics. Neil Simon adapted his own stage play, but the film feels far more Italian than typical Simon, likely because DeSica’s noted longtime scenarist Cesare Zavattini co-wrote the screenplay.

The trendy pop score is by Burt Bacharach with lyrics of the title song by Hal David sung by the popular rock group The Hollies (along with Peter Sellers). The film’s infectious and nearly continuous sense of play makes it so much fun to watch that it’s easy to forgive a few spots that drag, become repetitious, or seem like they’re trying just a bit too hard.

Sellers plays Aldo Vanucci, a criminal mastermind and master of disguise who is in prison as the film begins. He soon finds a clever way to escape and return to his hometown where he discovers his movie-mad sister (Britt Ekland) wants to become an actress. Meanwhile a fortune in gold bullion stolen by another criminal named Okra (Akim Tamiroff) is being shipped from Cairo to Italy, and he knows Vanucci is one of the few who could help him smuggle it into the country.

Vanucci decides he will pass himself off as a famous film director, Federico Fabrizi (looking a lot like Fellini), shooting a movie about a gold theft. To make his scheme seem legit, he convinces a fading but still popular American star (Victor Mature) to play the lead. His plan is to get the naïve, starstruck residents of a coastal village to bring the gold ashore for him for free, believing they are extras in the key scene of his fictitious film. As part of the process he steals film production equipment from director Vittoria DeSica (playing himself), who happens to be shooting an Egyptian epic.

Sellers is hilarious, as usual, reveling in the various characters that his character gets to play, especially the flamboyant movie director. Simon’s dialogue is full of great one-liners made all the funnier by the actors’ delivery and timing (many by usually dramatic actor Martin Balsam as the cynical agent for Victor Mature’s character). Mature has often been underrated as an actor but here shows he can poke wicked fun at his own screen image yet is able to make his character both a gullible laughingstock and a poignant has-been struggling to maintain his career.

The largely Italian supporting cast provide wonderful foils for the leading characters, notably comedian Lando Buzzanca as the bumbling small-town police chief dying for a speaking role in the fake movie. And the big courtroom sequence near the end has something in it for all movie lovers.

Kino’s HD transfer has very good picture and sound. Bonus features are a brief introduction by Larry Karaszewki and three trailers.


AFTER THE FOX on Blu-ray – Movie: A- / Video: A / Audio: A / Extras: C-

Recently in:

Sophia Wilansky says she’s lucky she’s right handed. Since nearly losing her left arm from an exploding projectile on Backwater Bridge one year ago, cooking has become a tedious art. She can no longer be involved in circus…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…