A Movie A Day: QUACKSER FORTUNE HAS A COUSIN IN THE BRONX (1970)
You silly bitch. You don’t even understand.
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
Waris Hussein, director, bridges us from yesterday’s sort of okay THE POSSESSION OF JOEL DELANEY to today’s QUACKSER FORTUNE HAS A COUSIN IN THE BRONX which I believe is the longest title in the AMAD run so far (although I know of a couple others coming up that will make this title look like F/X).
Let’s get this out of the way first. I have an unhealthy fascination with Gene Wilder. His voice is like Linus’ blanket to me. From WILLY WONKA and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN to BLAZING SADDLES and SILVER STREAK and STIR CRAY and even HAUNTED HONEYMOON… I grew up with his films. His personality was just as meaningful and real in my life as any Uncle or Cousin, maybe even more so.
There are a few of his films I haven’t seen, some I knew existed (like tomorrow’s film) and some I had no idea existed, which is where QUACKSER FORTUNE HAS A COUSIN IN THE BRONX fits in.
I read his memoir Kiss Me Like A Stranger… a really bizarre read, by the way… and read about the production troubles on this film, a romance where he was to play an Irish man in love with an American girl.
Amazon had it on DVD and I had it a few days later.
I had to take a last minute trip to Arkansas to visit my grandmother and my great-grandmother. The latter is pushing 92 and it’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve seen them and even though the last thing I wanted to do after 2 weeks of LAing and Comic-Con was drive 8 hours to Arkansas, this was the only time I could make the trip and could be my last time to see my Great-Grandmother.
First thing I made sure to pack were my AMAD movies for the week, so I’ve been watching them (and writing the column) every night before going to sleep.
Man, get to the point. I guess this is what you’d call filler because I don’t have a whole lot to say about this movie.
Essentially you have Wilder playing a young Irish man whose job is to scoop up horseshit from the Dublin streets and sell it off as fertilizer. He meets a liberated rich American college student studying abroad (Margot Kidder) and they have a fling.
That’s about it. There are a few more threads, but it’s mostly just about Wilder trying to get into Kidder’s pants while trying his damndest to get keep his Irish accent going.
I think I’m a big Margot Kidder fan all the way up to SUPERMAN… I think I am because I don’t exactly love her as Lois Lane, or rather what she became as the character in the sequels because the sheer charisma she shares with with Christopher Reeve in the first one makes her a worthy Lane.
But I love the early ‘70s shit she’s done. This movie isn’t so great, but she’s good in it. I love BLACK CHRISTMAS, THE DION BROTHERS (in the top 5 of “Why the fuck isn’t this out on DVD yet?” titles) and SISTERS.
Wilder is trying hard here, but is struggling uphill with a script that probably read much better than it was visually told. Can’t say I like Waris Hussein after seeing two movies he’s directed. His visual style is barely acceptable for TV and doesn’t pass muster for feature films.
THE POSSESSION OF JOEL DELANEY should have been atmospheric when it wasn’t and QUACKSER FORTUNE should have had an ethereal quality to it. It’s almost a fairy tale, trying to ride the balance of whimsy and drama, but it can never attain that sweet-spot and just goes all over the place like a drunk on the road… sometimes he stays in his lane, sometimes he hits a group of children at a crosswalk.
I will say that Wilder is worth watching the movie for, but more for where this falls in his filmography. He did this and tomorrow’s AMAD back to back in-between his one-two punch introduction with BONNIE & CLYDE and THE PRODUCERS and his iconic (although not recognized at the time) turn in WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.
He’s hungry here, but his talent isn’t focused. If you see how Mel Brooks used Wilder in THE PRODUCERS, BLAZING SADDLES and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN I think you’ve seen how well that talent can be used. Brooks seems to get the heart and borderline insanity that is Wilder’s trademark.
So you see young Wilder in his prime here, using his voice and body for some great character moments, but ultimately it turns out to be a mediocre movie that wasn’t released to big fanfare for a reason.
Final Thoughts: If you ever wanted to see Willy Wonka suck on Lois Lane’s titties, then this movie is for you. Yes, it’s graphic, yes they’re adorable and double-yes it’s fucking creepy to watch Gene Wilder suck on someone’s tits. That’s like walking in on your grandpa trimming his pubes or something. QUACKSER isn’t a horrible movie, but it’s not a trend-setter, it’s not a showcase for any particular actor (with both leads being better in other movies) and I doubt it’ll blow anybody’s hair back. One little interesting bit of trivia, though, is that David Kelly is a supporting character, a pub-crawler who is obsessed with Kidder’s shoes. Kelly played Grandpa Joe in the Tim Burton remake of Willy Wonka, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Interesting to see him so young and in a movie with the other, far superior Wonka.
The schedule for the next 7 days is:
Thursday, August 7th: START THE REVOLUTION WITHOUT ME (1970)
Friday, August 8th: HELL IS A CITY (1960)
Saturday, August 9th: THE PIED PIPER (1972)
Sunday, August 10th: PARTNERS (1982)
Monday, August 11th: BARRY LYNDON (1975)
Tuesday, August 12th: THE SKULL (1965)
Wednesday, August 13th: THE HELLFIRE CLUB (1961)
I have a gut feeling that tomorrow’s START THE REVOLUTION WITHOUT ME will be the best AMAD in a week. It’s been a pretty disappointing week so far. See you tomorrow!
June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Aug. 7, 2008, 3:10 a.m. CST
Aug. 7, 2008, 3:12 a.m. CST
I just assume that you haven't seen it, because for any reason it disappeared into curiosity within the last 25 years. And with "for any reason" I mean "because it's probably one of the most fucked up not-r-rated cartoons I've ever seen".
Aug. 7, 2008, 3:19 a.m. CST
And strangely enough, I remember enjoying the hell out of it. But for the life of me, I can't recall a damn thing about it! Except it was one of the those strange slapstick spoof films.<p> I got to say, the 70's and 80's were great times for comedy. Films got to "artsy" on some level<p> It seems rather strange, doesn't it? A person works all there life and gets into the movies...they direct a few fims and then is forgotten.
Aug. 7, 2008, 3:24 a.m. CST
He's been working steadily...mostly in TV and UK stuff.... His current movie is Shakespeare The Winters Tale...<p> So I guess he's got a steady job as a TV guy...
Aug. 7, 2008, 3:29 a.m. CST
Even Irish people have trouble with their accents. Unless you're gunning for an Oscar or something, I wouldn't even try.
Aug. 7, 2008, 4:29 a.m. CST
yeah that peaked my interest! how do you meet a girl shoveling shit all day? i only ask cause i work at the sewage works and wondering how gene pulls it off.
Aug. 7, 2008, 5:21 a.m. CST
In candid moments, directors will tell you why they like television; it is easier, quicker, and the money is good and steady. Long running shows will often placate and actor by letting him direct and episode because it really can't do a whole lot of damage for the ego boost of adding director to his resume.
Aug. 7, 2008, 5:31 a.m. CST
by Boba Fat
Freddie Francis must have bought a new zoom lens for that one and boy does he use it.
Aug. 7, 2008, 7:32 a.m. CST
He directed Melody and for that he gets a lifetime pass from me, if you watch Melody, you can see where the inspiration for Winnie Cooper came from.
Aug. 7, 2008, 9:06 a.m. CST
which was also my first DePalma film I saw. Made me a fan of both.
Aug. 7, 2008, 9:14 a.m. CST
He needs to get more recognition outside of geek circles. The man is not only a comedy genius but an all around acting genius.
Aug. 7, 2008, 9:19 a.m. CST
When're you going to get on Genevieve Bujold?
Aug. 7, 2008, 9:35 a.m. CST
...quite the, uh, libertine in those magical, un-botoxed early 70's, her profligate lifestyle shocking her virginal pal, this young director named speilberg who showed some promise back then...<p> loving these in-depth looks at forgotten films, capt. quint. looking forward to _barry lyndon_...i'll fire up the schubert for it, plus whatever else i have handy...
Aug. 7, 2008, 10:22 a.m. CST
There's a story in there that during Jaws they hooked him up with a hooker and ... trying to remember - he couldn't get it up for her? Kidder was portrayed as a freaky-deaky hippie girl who liked to sunbathe nude and was disgusted that Senor Spielbergo showed up with a "bimbo" date - was it Victoria Principal? Anyway - great book - really wallows in the dirt.
Aug. 7, 2008, 11:06 a.m. CST
by Napoleon Park
saw this at the Alpine Twin when it came out. We thought it was odd and quirky but we enjoyed it. I think I saw it again decades later on HBO once. Way more character than plot but I won't try to defend it to someone who just saw it when I haven't seen it in decades.<p.I love that poster of Quackser hauling Kidder off in his horseshit cart. So much for women's lib, huh?
Aug. 7, 2008, 2 p.m. CST
by Vim Fuego
His character's name was "Albert Riddle". He mentioned his brother once; "Jimmy Riddle". Best. Character. Name. Ever. Not the best Double Entendre ever though. that goes to the Thin Blue Line: "Your cock up. My arse". Genius.
Aug. 7, 2008, 2:14 p.m. CST
In short: I practically worship Kubrick and it's his only film I outright don't like. Albeit, I haven't seen Fear and Desire, which rarely screens. Bizarrely, Lyndon is directionless and also a bore but with exquisite cinematography. I'll be curious to see what you think.
Aug. 8, 2008, 2:05 a.m. CST
I always liked the theme to Robins nest http://tinyurl.com/62mspj,it reminds me of the wednesday night battles to stay up till (Pm to watch Benny Hill :>,at school we had arguments over whether the old fellas arm was really cut off as others swore blind they saw it in other films,check this out http://tinyurl.com/6k8qxa,
Aug. 8, 2008, 2:06 a.m. CST
Aug. 8, 2008, 10:43 a.m. CST
by The Gospel According to Bastardface
But her best work was in The Donner Cut of Superman II. My blood still boils when I think what could have been with a properly shot and cut Superman II under Donner and not that goofy, yet likeable knock off by Lester.
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