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I haven't seen this film since it came out in 1971; my mouth dropped open. One of your reviewers said it is a virtual gem but that's wrong--nothing virtual about it, it's a REAL gem! Maybe the funniest, most intelligent, poignant, true-to-life film I've ever seen. Just a couple of scenes...
As the film opens, Joseph Bologna is graduating from Brooklyn College (I think) and is standing, in gown and mortarboard, with his two proud, obviously much less educated Italian-American parents. Being a proud, prickly adolescent, he idiotically uses this joyous landmark family occasion to start a nasty argument in which he rants against his baffled parents, warning them of what is going to happen to people like them when people like him righteously rise up to end the wrongs they have been enduring. The topper is that the viewer notices he is wearing, under his gown, a necklace of shark's teeth, a la Black Panther terrorists (remember them?).
Then we meet his girlfriend, Renee Taylor (in real life, co-writer and long-time wife). She is this neurotic, psychoanalytically-oriented, minimally talented, would-be actress. Also a pushy Jewish Brooklyn girl who is Bologna's greatest booster--and would-be wife. She has developed a high-concept (she thinks) act we see her perform in a smoky, low-ceiling Brooklyn dump of a night club. The act is a series of impersonations. Her gimmick is that at the beginning of each, she coyly asks the audience "Who am I?" After each impersonation she asks the audience who the subject was. No one knows the right answer. But, unaware of the magnitude of the disaster, she bravely soldiers on. It is riotously funny yet as painful as Chaplin's dinner in "The Gold Rush" in which, as the evening wears on, it becomes clear that his lovely female guests won't show up.
Does anyone know how to buy a DVD of this extraordinary film by two geniuses?
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