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I know there was a lot of controversy around this film, due to the fact
we have a rich white man buying a black man for his son, but I think
that people just took this film way too seriously. Richard Pryor is one
of the best comedians of all time, so I definitely became interested in
seeing this film after I saw it on VH1's "I love the 80's" show, once
again though, it seemed like they were giving the film a hard time.
Well, I saw this at a store and figured for 5 dollars, what the heck?
It's the rental price, if I liked the movie, I might as well own it.
Well, I watched it this morning, I have to say that I thought that this
was a very cute film that I'm sure if you have an open mind, you'll
definitely enjoy it.
Jack is a journalist looking for a job, he's not getting anything though, at first he starts as a cleaning lady, but is fired by a snobby rich man. Then he's security at a toy store where the snobby rich man's son is shopping for anything he wants, he sees Jack and thinks he is funny, he wants him as the toy. When offered enough money to save his house, Jack agrees to it, but he's getting just a bit humiliated when he is constantly mocked, understandably. But when he gives the little boy a chance, they end up becoming great friends.
The Toy is just a fun movie that I'm sure you'll get a kick out of if you just give it a shot. It's a definite 80's classic that had great comedy in it, Richard was absolutely hilarious. He and Scott Schwartz were very adorable together and looked like they had so much fun together. I would recommend this film for a fun comedy, you're guaranteed a few laughs.
This film can be enjoyed by children due to it's obvious subject matter. But it also has a subtheme about racial and class divisions. Depending on the scene, the film's racial connotations range from depicting the use of blacks in subservient positions, to blatantly expressing that people can still sell themselves or be bought out of desperation.
"The Toy" is a remake of the French movie "Le Jouet," but writer Carol
and director Dick Donner have infused it with a racist theme that is
US Bates (Gleason), a wealthy, powerful Louisiana industrialist purchases, Jack Brown, a janitor (Pryor) to perform as an object for his spoiled son's amusement.
After an initial period of friction due to young Eric's (Schwartz) obnoxious, selfish behavior, they agree to investigate Bates's personal and professional misbehavior in a home-made newspaper, called "The Toy."
Infuriated, Bates demonstrates to the two investigators that he owns the people who work for him by ordering his assistant named Morehouse (Beatty) to drop his pants on command (he later screams at another assistant "I told you to dance!")
The iconoclastic rebels who finally take down Bates at a Klan fundraiser are Eric's innocent generation who never knew Jim Crow and the truth-burdened, unemployed black man with nothing to lose because he's already at the bottom.
This movie is filled with enough Pryor minstrelsy to keep movie-going Whitey occupied and chuckling, but is at the same time digging deep into the reality and shame of this country's racist past, and, indeed, present. And we haven't even addressed the alcoholic indentured man-servant Barkley (Hyde-White) or the Fraulein-who-cries-Mandingo (Leslie-Lyttle.)
From the buying of Brown to the sycophantic staff to the Senator-for-hire Newcomb (consonance: Nuke 'Em,) US Bates proves that slavery isn't over...people just cost a little more these days.
In this day when skirting the issue of race and playing it safe at the risk of being offensive has crushed any discussion of racism in this country, it's nice to see that Hollywood once had the balls to make a movie that called a spade a...well, you get it.
Oh, and the kid grows up to be a porn star.
Everyone wants to talk about the racial overtones. ***NEWS FLASH***
White folks do not wake up every morning thinking about how to screw
over black folks. The movie was great. I loved it then and I love it
now. I'm pretty sure the people who made this movie decided to make a
funny movie with a great comedian of that era. I couldn't think of a
better comedian to have as a toy, white or black.
To all my folks who seem to get upset at Richard Pryor and or the directors for making this movie, don't be. Be upset at Petey Greene for showing everyone how to eat a watermelon. You Tube that if you don't believe me.
I've seen this movie more times than I'd ever admit to, and the thing that
keeps me watching is Pryor. He shines in just about
every scene he's seen, especially when he's paired with
Wonder-Wheel. It's just that the rest of the film isn't on the
That's not to say it's a bad film; it's just not a solid one. This remake of a Francis Veber film (the name escapes me) finds Pryor as Jack Brown, an unemployed writer who seeks a job with a newspaper. He arrives at Bates Industries, run by the powerful industrialist U.S. Bates (Jackie Gleason). He works a variety of odd jobs, incl. a janitor in a department store, where he is spotted by U.S. Bates' spoiled son, Eric, during the afforementioned Wonder-Wheel fiasco. Eric wants Jack as a toy, and this leads to a movie that blends the comedic with the sentimental, and works about half of the time.
The movie does take it's time to illustrate the goings-on in the Bates home. Eric spends much time tormenting Jack; during their first night, he shoots firecrackers at him, among other things. The two of them play air-hockey, and when Jack is beating Eric, the boy quits. Jack questions the boy if his father knows that his son is a quitter, to which Eric replies, "He doesn't care what I am, as long as I stay out of his way." That scene illustrates Eric's m.o.; he's frustrated at the neglect and inattentiveness he receives from his father, and expresses it in rebellious behavior.
That's all good and well, and that scenario does have a positive resolution, but the movie is burdened with unnecessary elements that don't belong in a movie like this. The movie has a racist subtext: Jack essentially allows himself to be bought, even though he says he can't. There's also a subplot towards the end dealing with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan that serves no purpose other than to wreck a party. And U.S. Bates' wife, Fancy, is a poorly-drawn character; she comes along with an impressive bust and an annoying voice, and does little that is humorous, aside from her pronounciation of "U.S."
Still, the main reason to see the film is Pryor. See it for no other reason than to see a legend doing what he does best.
It's nearly a shot-by-shot remake for the French masterpiece (Le Jouet
- 1976); so much for saying I think !. (Richard Pryor) filled it with
his own buffoonery, and some funny lines, but he couldn't capture the
serious sense of the story, he almost dealt with the movie as a toy
itself. He was a golden star at the moment, so maybe they left him do
whatever he wants. Or maybe that's the taste of his comedy anyway.
(Richard Donner) made it fairly but it's still one of his most
spiritless movies that lacks the personal touch, he was executing more
than creating at this break between the end of the 1970s' (Superman)'s
movies, and his works at the mid-1980s : (Ladyhawke), (The Goonies),
then (Lethal Weapon).
Of course the comparison isn't for the sake of the American movie. Firstly, there are no changes, they kind of translated the French movie to American the way they translated le jouet to the toy ("The Toy" is what "Le Jouet" means in English). They only added a storyline about racism which suited (Pryor)'s character, and harmonized with the motif (as if slavery still exists, making the poor as the rich people's toy). And also, it utilized somehow the stepmother as a sexual toy herself. But overall nothing could reach to the original's special pace, or exceptional personality.
(Donner), with the 2 scriptwriter, lacked the French director (Francis Veber)'s smart touches while he was transforming his own short story into feature film; for example, at (Le Jouet), the rich man's villa was dark, the silence worked powerfully more than the talking, and it didn't go to repeat the domino's fall, or show off the stepmother's body !. Let alone, how here the adult joking is ruling, there is a purposed kick out of hearing the boy says "Boob", or else familiar matters. (Patrick Williams)'s music was very cute, but not up to (Vladimir Cosma)'s tender memorable score. And nothing can imitate the original's end, which's one of the most touching and expressing cinematic endings I've ever seen.
Have watched the original or not, this one is good, fresh and solid as an afternoon movie. In fact its good condition is a perfect proof of the original's beauty, though it's obvious that (The Toy) couldn't be as "unique" as (Le Jouet).
Richard Pryor's early 80s running down the street on fire incident must
have affected him somehow. In his stand up,he jokes about it getting
great laughs. It seemed to have done something involving the projects
he chose. The Toy is about the lamest he ever chose,aside from I guess
A movie where a white man buys his son a black man? Nice little bit of underlying political incorrectness before thee was such a thing. It's seeing Richard getting all sentimental that made me finally walk out before the end. I wanted to see Pryor get even with this brat,instead it becomes the misunderstood kid nauseum! At least Gleason had his moments. Ignore this and watch Pryor with Gene Wilder or any of his '70s stuff. This is a waste of any movie watcher's time!
Just rewatched this Richard Donner movie starring Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason after 30 years on Netflix Streaming just now. In this one, Pryor plays Jack Brown, an unemployed reporter whose house may be put up for sale unless he gets a job so he finds employment, initially as a maid, for Gleason's U.S. Bates before being reassigned as his son, Eric's (Scott Schwartz), "toy". I'll stop there and just say that despite the silly premise and some potentially stereotypically offensive situations, I did laugh plenty again at many of Pryor's shenanigans with Schwartz and Gleason still was good for some reaction shots especially when he says "woof". Also funny are Ned Beatty-who previously was in Pryor's Silver Streak but has scenes with him here for the first time since co-star Gene Wilder had the lion's share of lines with him there-as toady Mr. Morehouse and Teresa Ganzel as Fancy, U.S.'s (or in her pronunciation-You Ass) wife. It does get really contrived near the end but still, The Toy was fun and somewhat inspirational to me still. With that out of the way, if you're familiar with my reviews, you know that I always like to cite when productions have something associated with my current hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Well, this movie was shot there and I always like recognizing many of the city's landmarks like a brick structure I noticed at the beginning as Pryor encounters a limousine with his first meeting with Fancy there or a scene inside Goudchaux's Department Store-a building that still exists though the store is no more-with his riding the Wonder Wheel or the Indian Mounds near LSU that Jack and Eric walk on and, most awesome of all, two scenes of the State Capital-one seen through the windows of U.S. Bates's office as he makes Morehouse take his pants off in front of Jack and Eric and the other as the latter two are walking near the building's grounds. Also, a couple of players are familiar to me: Linda McCann, who appears in a party scene and at the end, was a teacher of a classmate of mine during my days before high school. She plays Honey Russell. And Robert Earle, who played a poker player at the beginning, was known to me as Bob Earle, president of WIBR-AM 1300, who did promotions for and introed many old-time radio programs for the Top 40 station during the 1979-80 season before it switched to country as I-13 during the latter part of the year. That station went off the air after Hurricane Gustav went through the area on September 1, 2008. Oh, and one more thing, I also like to cite when someone from my birthtown of Chicago, Ill. is associated with the production who in this case was screenwriter Carol Sobieski who had also adapted Annie starring Albert Finney and Carol Burnett earlier in the year.
Richard Pryor stars as a down and out writer who ends up as a human toy
for multi-billionaire Jackie Gleason's son. The combination results in
comedy that only a man like Richard Pryor could take and make even
Shades of his stand up act stand out when the focus is on Pryor and some of the situations he gets himself into and he uses this time to shine. Jackie Gleason played well, too, as the straight man, but I don't think this was his forte, although, come to think of it, this role isn't that much different from the "straight guy" kind of role he played in the "Smokey and the Bandit" films, but he was a LOT funnier in those films than here.
The only problem I have with this film is that it starts to go for the throat of comedy, but ends up being a piece trying to deal with the issues at the time...almost like changing boats in the middle of the stream. The comedy continues throughout, but it changes its content, which distracted me a little.
7 out of 10 stars.
Is the toy Gleason or Pryor's best movie, don't make me laugh. But it shouldn't have been trashed the way it was and still is because a bunch of politically correct pseudo-intelectuals in the media resented the racial undertones. The weakest link in this movie is the script. it could have been so much better. The editing is pretty spotty too. That much said it will make you laugh, and Gleason's performance is sincere, especially during the emotional conclusion. The complaints if the child actor's performance are justified, but mcalaey caulken was awful...he's a kid. what do you expect? I feel as if this movie got a bum rap for political reasons, and that's just a shame because funny is funny and that's the bottem line.
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