Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
Having just seen "The Laughmaker" on a fascinating DVD, I feel compelled to correct some curious information in the previous review. First, the character that Gleason "plays" on his TV show is "The Poor Soul", not "Fenwick Babbitt". The two are similar, but the "soul" is a pantomime character. Second, and most bewildering in the review, Marian Seldes (who remains "stick thin" to this day) is in EVERY scene with Gleason. Except for one final scene towards the end, she doesn't appear WITHOUT him. Gleason, playing Gleason, is quite good; Carney can't help but be likewise. But it is Sally Gracie, as the girl singer who truly loves the Gleason character, who steals the show.
This is one of those rare films that you either "get", or you don't. If you get it (to paraphrase "The Song of Bernadette") no explanation is necessary. If you don't, no explanation is possible. See it and you'll understand.
The DVD of the miniseries brings it into better focus, minus commercial interruptions, and it is definitely one of the better adaptations of this old warhorse. But beware the DVD copy! It claims the movie runs 200 minutes. It doesn't (160 mins.). It claims to be an "exclusive widescreen version" (1:78 to 1). It isn't. It's full screen. The second disc claims 125 minutes of material. Actually it's less than 120 with a 90 minute documentary and a 20 minute "behind the scenes feature. Nevertheless, what you DO get is quite enjoyable. One wonders why they had to promise so much more.
Playwright John Osborne's (Look Back in Anger, The Entertainer) dramatisation of Oscar Wilde's only novel positively revels in the homosexual subtext of the original, perhaps too much so. Nonetheless, the dialogue, the acting, with a cast headed by Sir John Gielgud & Jeremy Brett, and the brilliantly cerebral production (marred only by a "too quick" ending) make this worth the while of any lover of Theater, with a capital "T".