A Movie A Day: PAPA’S DELICATE CONDITION (1963)
It’s a good thing women can’t vote. We’d be worse off than we are now.
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 or from my DVR and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
That’s how long my movie-coma lasted and I feel great! Unfortunately that means I slept through the entirety of Friday, so first thing I did when I woke up was pop in Friday’s movie of the day and get it watched.
Today we follow director George Marshall over to PAPA’S DELICATE CONDITION, a rather obscure family comedy from 1963 starring Jackie Gleason.
The title refers to Gleason’s state whenever he drinks too much and gets impulsive. He’s a good man at heart and acts on impulse without a thought to the future. He’s a railroad man who comes back to his family and within a few days has bought the local pharmacy (because the guy who runs it is a dickhead who is about to fire his assistant manager for being so selfish as to be at his wife’s side as she’s giving birth) and a traveling circus, wiping out the family’s funds.
He buys the circus because he’s particularly crazy about Corrie, his youngest daughter and she falls in love with a pony in the circus. He goes into his meeting with the two circus owners trying to buy the pony and cart and walks out owning the circus.
This was a highlight of the film for me as the two sleaze-ball circus owners were played by great character actors Elisha Cook Jr. and Murray Hamilton. They could have made this movie about those two characters and I would have been much happier.
That’s not to say that the movie is particularly bad, it’s just slight. Gleason is fun to watch, I have a ton of nostalgia for Glynis Johns (she played mother of the house in MARY POPPINS) and overall tone of the movie felt a lot like Poppins to me. Hell, even their house reminded me of the Banks Residence.
I think I’m not a terribly big fan of George Marshall. He’s a competent director, for sure, but none of the films of his I’ve covered really stand out beyond the charisma of those in front of the camera. He knows what shots he needs to make the film cut together, but all three films, HOUDINI, MONEY FROM HOME and PAPA’S DELICATE CONDITION feel like they were directed as if from a pre-written manual, like stereo instructions or shelf-building instructions. There’s no flair to them, no real using the camera to visually tell the story.
And that’s fine. In all three instances the film floats on either the story (HOUDINI) or the likability of the leads (PAPA’S and MONEY FROM HOME).
One thing that did kind of stick out to me in this story was kind of a fucked up little side-story about Glynis John’s father and Gleason’s Father-In-Law, Mayor of Texarkana, who is up for re-election.
There comes a point when Johns takes the kids and leaves Gleason and stays with her father, who is losing his re-election to a charismatic politician. We only get a little glimpse of this politician and you can tell he’s kind of a good guy, which is odd because Gleason uses his circus to come in and draw away his voters! He offers free shows, popcorn, hot dogs and ice cream to the voters and his father-in-law wins the election! Fucked up, right?
And the movie has a cigar smoking, ass-kissing chimp in a Hef-like smoking jacket who always sucks up to the one in charge. First it’s Gleason and then it’s his father-in-law when he is re-elected.
Okay, someone should remake this movie starring that chimp and CG-in Elisha Cook Jr. and Murray Hamilton. I want that adventure.
Final thoughts: It’s a cute little movie, but there’s a reason it took over 10 years to hit DVD. It’s not bad, but damn is it just okay through and through. A week from now I bet I’ll remember precious little of this film, except for the awesome chimp and the 3 minutes of Elisha Cook Jr. and Murray Hamilton it has. Special note, this film is an Academy Award winner, winning best Song for Gleason’s drunken singing of a tune called Call Me Irresponsible, beating out IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD and CHARADE.
The schedule for the next few days is:
Saturday, September 27th: DILLINGER (1945)
Sunday, September 28th: BATTLE OF THE BULGE (1965)
Monday, September 29th: DAISY KENYON (1947)
Tuesday, September 30th: LAURA (1944)
Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here!
The above Horror Movie list isn’t complete. I’ll be adding on titles as I find them. There are probably only one or two WTF!?! titles on there, one being the original version of one of my all time favorite horror classics, a remake, but no matter what I think we’re in for a fun October. I’ll add on to the list as I pick up more titles… ‘tis the season, afterall…
See you folks later in the day with the Saturday AMAD DILLINGER, following one of my favorites, Elisha Cook Jr. back into noir territory!
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
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Sept. 27, 2008, 7:51 a.m. CST
by Little Beavis
and probably last
Sept. 27, 2008, 7:55 a.m. CST
by greigy just wanted to say
Gene Tierney... Dana Andrews... Vincent Price... you can't go wrong... by the by does anyone remember the Lilian Gish quote from Alan Alda's Sweet Liberty about Jackie Gleason... dunno why just found that hysterical
Sept. 27, 2008, 8:50 a.m. CST
If you can ever catch DVDS or late nite TV Land airings of his original TV show (not Honeymooners - the Jackie Gleason Show), he occassionally does a song or two, and its just great.<p> oh and the guy who plays the drunk at the bar is worth watching, too. So much better than Honeymooners if you're a Gleason fan.
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:07 a.m. CST
MSNBC is reporting that Paul Newman has died of cancer @ 83. Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck fuck!
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:08 a.m. CST
One of a kind, he will be missed.
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:09 a.m. CST
Everytime you see a chimp in a comedy movie, you know the creators have just given up. "You got a punchline...aw screw it, just send in the smoking chimp!"
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:12 a.m. CST
I'm gonna go watch the Cool Hand Luke Blu ray. R.I.P.
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:12 a.m. CST
I'm gonna go watch the Cool Hand Luke Blu ray. R.I.P.
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:20 a.m. CST
oh wait hes that guy who acted in movies that no one watched
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:25 a.m. CST
The legends (and Bernie Mac) are dropping like flies this year. Were I in show busines I'd be renewing my life insurance.
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST
Writing it now. Heard rumor early, early this morning, but was hoping it wasn't true. Damn.
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:40 a.m. CST
If you are being sarcastic, bad form. If you are being serious, go get fucked.
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:41 a.m. CST
God bless you sir.
Sept. 27, 2008, 9:48 a.m. CST
Because I can think of no greater tribute.<p> According to the obits, his food company Newman's Own was entirely non-profit and to date, has donated over 100 million to charities. Most people would have pocketed that cash, but he just gave it all away. Jesus, we need more like that.
Sept. 27, 2008, 10:09 a.m. CST
What a guy huh. Sad news indeed. He was one hell of man through and through.
Sept. 27, 2008, 3:43 p.m. CST
fuck this movie btw.
Sept. 27, 2008, 3:57 p.m. CST
by Napoleon Park
Yeah, my Dad Loved Paul Newman, Lee Marvin, Steve McQueen and George C. Scott movies, but I'm actually talking about The Great One. My father elevated Jackie Gleason to a whole 'nother level of favoritude. And as I grew up watching his Jackie Gleason show/American Scene Magazine with Frank Fontaine and the june Taylor Dancers, long before I saw the classic original black and white Honeymooners, I understood his admiration for the mans sensibilities, tastes, humor, acting skills and of course his love of "Ummwow - good coffee!".<p>This was hardly his greatest role - that, of course, would be in the Hustler, then the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy. Gleason fans should also seek out his genius turn in Gigot, the movie of Woody Allen's play "Don't Drink The Water," "Now to Commit Marriage," "Mr. Billion" and "Nothing In Common" where he played Tom Hanks father. Oh, and the incredibly bizarre curiousity "Skidoo!"<p>Anyone in doubt of Gleason's skills - he was in a Smokey movie without burt Reynolds and a Sting sequel without Newman or Redford and made them work!
Sept. 27, 2008, 4:03 p.m. CST
by Napoleon Park
While the sad news seems to be overshadowing this particular film review, it's in a way appropriate that there be an AMAD talkback tribute to Newman, since "Harper", if I recall correctly, was the very first AMAD and "Cool Hand Luke" was one of those "How did you miss this one?" flicks Quint gets called on. (Harper was one of Newman's "H-series" films - Hustler, Hud, Harper, Hombre - all worth revisiting.)<p>Paul Newman, actor, husband, humanitarian, liberal, one of my dad's heroes. As if that wasn't enough, he had to add Race Car Driver. Sheesh, what a man.
Sept. 27, 2008, 7:04 p.m. CST
Sept. 28, 2008, 11:58 p.m. CST
an extremely listless director. But he made ONE classic: THE GHOST BREAKERS (a precision hybrid of horror and comedy).
Oct. 22, 2008, 4:13 p.m. CST
Did anyone notice that Gleason's oldest daughter is played by the unbelievably cute Laurel Goodwin, 'Yeoman Colt' from the first "Star Trek" pilot.....
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