Skip’s Quips: Disliking ‘The Comedians’ Is No Laughing Matter

Blog Sketch 082813Well, I tried to watch The Comedians. It was a valiant effort.

Unfortunately, it failed.

I’m not sure what the issue was. The pacing seemed off. Direction, by Peter Glenville, was a bit plodding, especially during the scenes involving Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who have never been my favorite acting team. It certainly was a powerful subject – Haiti during the reign of “Papa Doc” Duvalier – and it had some terrific performers, including Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov, James Earl Jones and Lilian Gish, but the components didn’t really fit together. The movie felt like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle with inaccurately measured pieces.

Oh, well. I do like trying new things, but this picture didn’t grab me. Perhaps it’s one of those films that deserves to be remade. Better direction and a tighter script might serve it well.

Setter’s ‘Spectives: The Times They Are A-Spacin’

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613My father has an interesting story that he likes to tell about the original Star Wars movie.

Back in the late 1970s, after the flick came out, he went to see it in the theater. Once there, after the picture started, he fell asleep.

What? you say. Fell asleep during Star Wars?

Yea, verily, yea. Apparently, all the noise and flashing lights from those proletarian blasters combined with the dark theater put him right into slumberland.

Nowadays, that may seem bizarre, but it’s an interesting reflection of the times, I think. In those days, not everyone regarded Star Wars as the classic it’s thought of today. Even Alec Guinness, Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, reportedly didn’t think much of the script when he first read it. Since then, after repeated viewings, my father has come to like the film, but it took a while for that to happen. Like a fine wine (or perhaps, more appropriately, cheese) Star Wars gets better as it gets older. And it just goes to show you: Not everything good has immediate appeal.

See? Sometimes, to decide whether you like something, you just gotta sleep on it.