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John G. Avildsen
A poignant comedy about a mute who befriends Nicole, the little daughter of a prostitute. Gleason shows his considerable talents as an actor without uttering a sound as he plays the bumbling, kind-hearted janitor, Gigot. Gleason wrote the original story and music for this film. Written by
Charlie Watkins <email@example.com>
Gleason is wonderful, Katherine Kath an amazing child actress...
Affected, slightly overblown and mawkish, Gene Kelly's sentimental comedy "Gigot" manages to hit most of its funny/weepy targets due to a wordlessly wonderful leading performance by Jackie Gleason. Playing a mute caretaker in Paris, child-like Gleason befriends a prostitute and her young daughter (Katherine Kath, displaying lovely, solemn grace). Filmed in beautifully saturated colors, "Gigot" isn't immediately thought of as a natural fit for its star, and indeed many professional critics lambasted Gleason on the attempt alone, but The Great One is a marvel to watch. His sensitivity to this character seems quite heartfelt and, while director Kelly isn't really interested in subtleties, Gleason isn't the over-the-top comedian here; he's eager to please, but also gentle when it's called for, and--standing in the rain with the water running off his cherubic face--tender. If it's every comedian's dream to be taken seriously as a dramatic kingpin, Gleason is quietly pleased to be the acting prince. The movie doesn't come to much (it's just a doodle), but there are beautiful moments spread about which are immensely successful, and added up they make quite a pleasant, memorable vehicle. *** from ****
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