Probably there are as many types of humour as there are people. Our sense of humour is like a fingerprint: it identifies us and represents us socially; it singles us out. We can think of it as a collage of circumstances that we try to match with our personal values. Due to this fact, we tend to remember comical situations and gags that fit us somehow. It’s almost an aesthetic matter (intangible, but aesthetic).
Today I would like to show you some pieces of my particular collage. This will be a movie scenes’ collage, featuring five –in my opinion- memorable moments.
Five remedies for sadness
“Take the money and run”. The first film directed by Woody Allen, is a false documentary about a frustrated and frustrating petty thief who, since he was a child, was doomed to crime. The scene takes place in a penitentiary, where he tries to make a gun from a soap bar, painting it with black shoe shine polish. Once he makes the fake gun, he threatens the warden so as to escape from prison. The plan goes wrong when it begins to rain and the gun transforms into a frothy mass. Look at Allen’s face, cause it’s anthological.
Frank Oz’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. Histrionic and sometimes irritating Steve Martin gives here one of his funniest performances (along with his unforgettable dentist character in “Litttle shop of horrors”, of course). He is a swindler who works with the great Michael Caine (the other scoundrel; a more refined one). The frauds´ game moves Martin to become an invalid in a wheelchair. Caine will try to unmask him by means of a shock therapy in the impostor’s legs. Don´t miss it, cause it´s pure humour!
“The Life of Brian”. Monty Python creates this farce about a Christ contemporary fellow who gets involved in the most diverse adventures in his commitment to fight the Romans. The scene takes place in a market. Brian (Graham Chapman) decides to buy a false beard, just to evade Roman soldiers. For this proposal he is determined to pay whatever is necessary. But the salesman can´t be bothered. This is perhaps the best gag about negotiation I’ve seen in my life.
David Zucker’s “The Naked Gun”. Alter the huge success of “Airplane” it came this singular parody of detective stories and classic film noir. Leslie Nielsen portrays detective Frank Drebin, giving us some hilarious scenes. The one I chose is the performance of the United States anthem done by Lt. Drebin, pretending to be a tenor.
“Young Frankenstein”. We finish with another parody, but this time from Mel Brooks’ hand. Gene Wilder is Victor Frankenstein’s heir. In this scene Young Frankenstein carries a recent corpse, which will serve for his scientific proposals. Together with his servant Igor (a genial Marty Feldman) they make their way towards the castle with the deceased man in a cart, when a policeman surprises them. They cover the corpse, but a rigid hand sticks out. Young Frankenstein tries to make the policeman think that hand is his own hand, configures one of the most memorable situations I remember.
All in all, if you haven´t seen them yet, I obviously recommend that you not miss them. In a few weeks we will continue with the second part os this article.