Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Found On The Web ...

I Am Different!

The picture shows the cover of my
most recently published book -- I haven't actually seen it and don't know if it's on the market anywhere yet -- I found this image while browsing the web (that's right, I routinely Google my name, just like everyone else in the Universe). It's the German publication of a book I created last year for TULIKA in Madras. The German publication is a co-production. Its name in English is "I AM DIFFERENT!" and it's a collection of picture-puzzles, where you've got to locate the one item that's different on each page. The reason I say "created" rather than "drew" is that the images are collages, with 3D paint decorations surrounding them. So the effect is sort of interesting -- too bad it wasn't possible to print the book as a touchie-feelie item. The Indian edition will be out some time later this year.

Meanwhile: last night I watched Peter Sellers in THE PINK PANTHER -- the first movie of the series, starring David Niven, Claudia Cardinale and Capucine -- and ... ouch! I was very saddened and puzzled to find that it just didn't work for me. I can remember laughing myself sick during the final scene with the ridiculous zebra-costumed men galloping across a street in Rome. But last night I sat mostly stony-faced through the movie last night. *depression* I SO wanted to enjoy it!

Instead I found myself wondering how a turtle-faced old man like David Niven (very dashing in his youth) could have possibly hoped to romance a slinky-eyed kitten like Claudia C -- and of course I thought it was utterly bizarre that she was apparently INDIAN. Wheehoo. Capucine was gorgeous but once again, I found myself feeling tremendously sorry for poor old cuckolded Clouseau -- so blinded by love, so idiotic. All in all, I just felt sorry for everyone and not even the famous gags involving the two (actually THREE) gorilla suits and the idiotic zebra and the crossed identities worked at all. I had entirely forgotten that the plot was so involved and that Niven was supposed to have been the star and that his professional identity in the film was "The Phantom", not the Pink Panther, which was of course the name of the jewel he was trying to steal ... oy, oy, oy.

On a lighter note, however, let it be said that the feature BEFORE the Pink Panther was Steve Martin's MIXED NUTS. And, implausible and ridiculous as it is, there were many hysterical moments to be had. Maybe I should just avoid seeing it 20 years from now? Hmmm. Assuming I'm still on this plane of existence, that is ...

12 comments:

Jabberwock said...

Yup, felt pretty much the same way about The Pink Panther when I re-watched it. Sad - though I still think the Sellers performance works (or maybe I'm just being wistful).

Amrobilia said...

Sauce of hume changes as we age, darling. I think only Chaplin is immortal as far as comediums gross...or am I grog?

Marginalien said...

You're right, jabberwock, Sellers is the way he always is -- outstanding. It's the rest of the film that's grown flat over the ages.

As for your comment, amro ... LOL! "Sauce of hume" indeed! Speaking of which, I bought a bumper book of jokes today (you know, SOMETIMES you've gotta go out and buy something, rather than wait for another list of giggles to float by on the web) called MAN WALKS INTO A BAR by Stephen Arnott and Mike Haskins. Here's a joke from its opening page: A man walked into a bar and went "Aaaagh!" It was an iron bar.

And another one: Did youhear about the guy who lost his left and and left leg in a car accident? He's all right now.

Okay! I'll stop.

Anonymous said...

i went through peter seller "party" in much the same anguish of disappointment. and then went through all the pp series with muchos more morose. i guess the test of a classic is how you continue to respond after many decades of absitenence - like charlie chaplin, buster keaton, or indeed - top of the list for me are the marx brothers (why even my two sons aged 18 and 15 respectively, but not respectfully - being teenagers and all that) were riveted to messers marx 2 a point whereby we went to the library and got all their works - and a splendid time was guaranteed 4 all. gt

eyefry said...

Actually, the first Pink Panther movie isn't considered to be all that great, mostly because it had Peter Sellers just about warming to Clouseau in a script that didn't really leave him much room for his improvisation. The latter PP movies though, much to my glee, remain as funny as always. Or maybe that's just me.

Speaking of Peter Sellers, you should watch Murder By Death if you haven't already. Features spoofs of a rogues gallery of pulp mystery detectives, an entire encyclopedia of one-liners so terrible yet so compelling that you'll end up losing all your friends before a week is done, and a weird cameo by Truman Capote.

p.s. This is my first time here. Just want to say that I've always had an extremely persistent crush on Suki...
*shyly drags big arc in dirt with big toe of left foot*

Marginalien said...

Heh! Flattery will get you everywhere, eyefry ... thnx for dropping by.

gt, I watched The Party again recently and could still laugh at (most) of it. I found myself a little more in sympathy with him, yes, but I also realized how very acutely-observed the character is -- even today, there are recognizable "Hrundi Bakshis" amongst us -- the unsmiling earnestness, the sad-eyed acceptnance of discriminatory treatment from wait-staff and the odd flashes of arcane humour. The movie was much more critical of Hollywood execs and west coast lifestyles than I realized at the time -- the producer's wife is carried out on a stretcher, at the end, and her husband is frankly relieved.

Also, here's that joke again, mitout proofing error: Did you hear about the guy who lost his left hand and left leg in a car accident? He's all right now.

Anonymous said...

judge: this crime has been performed by a master criminal - a true genius ......
criminal: sir - flattery will get you nowhere - i still am not going to confess that i did this....

guess i do need 2 re evalu8 my impressions of sellers work and - in fact i do think he is a remarkable actor. indeed "murder by death" was a gr8 piece and it was the one that actually made me try to dig up sellers - and i recalled writhing with delight as i watched the "party" decades ago. however upon sitting through it with my sons - i must say that after the first 20 minutes or so the indianisation of the bumbling hrundi seemed insulting to me - to indians in general, and just did not hold enough of a sway to balance out the bastardisation of wannabe hippie hollywood execs. could be that after leaving india i have grown sensitive to that type of display. or maybe it was that "faded" hollywood celluloid after taste that seemed amateurish and the contrived photography that gives one the impression that we are watching a 60s porno film - which of course we subsequently did! (:-)). gt

Marginalien said...

It's funny -- I can't remember whether or not I've seen Murder By Death. I seem to recall a movie in which there's a gag-line at the gate of the house -- the name on the gate is "Twain" and the house number is "22". Sellers peers at the number and says, "Ahh ... Too-Too-Twain!!" Dunno if that's the same movie or not ...

Anonymous said...

it is the same movie. quite a tour de force. uneven - filled with 1 liners and a delightful parody on all the earlier detectives of that genre like bogart to agatha christie. cuppla old time big wigs in it 2 - like alec guiness and peter falk. written by neil simon. eyefry's description is very apt. gt

eyefry said...

I think you're very right about the Hrundi Bakshi arche/stereo-type. In fact, the honesty and effectiveness of Peter Sellers' portrayal of the nervous Indian is probably the very reason why so many people from the subcontinent seem so uncomfortable about whether or not to laugh at the character. Truth -- especially as a comedic vehicle driven by a percieved outsider (such as Sellers was by virtue of his real skin colour) -- is always a little hard to digest. Sellers' genius had, I believe, always been rather woefully bankrupted by his relentless bad behaviour.

P.S. "The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers" with Geoffrey Rush is a brilliant exposition on the man behind the Man.

Marginalien said...

The docu-bio starring Geoffrey Rush was ah-mazing -- I watched it gape-mouthed on TV just last year. Later, I saw a series of interviews with Blake Edwards and others, in connection with the Pink Panther series (there's a boxed collection which offers the interviews as a bonus feature). Edwards observes that Sellers' bad behavior may have been related to his near-fatal heart attack, shortly after his marriage to Britt Ekland, when he reportedly "died" several times on the operating table. Apparently it was after the heart attack that his eccentricity became really noticeable -- his extreme aversion (for instance) to certain colours and so on.

He certainly deserves the title of "tortured genius" ...

I will make an effort to chase up "Murder by Death". I believe I saw it in my pre-conscious life, when I thought Hollywood produced the world's best movies (ack! Did I admit that ONLINE???) so I was mostly bemused rather than amused by it.

Speaking of funny movies ... LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is one of the best movies doing the rounds these days. I already gave it the nod in an earlier post, but I couldn't resist a second nod here -- apparently it's an Oscar hopeful (unconfirmed factoid: NO comedy has ever won Best Picture at the Oscars) this year.

Anonymous said...

after viewing the stellar per4mance of the li'l gal in little miss sunshine, last night i went and watched and reminded myself of another unbelievable performance by a li'l guy bruno in de sica's bicycle thieves (5 out of 5 star movie in my list of notables, all amateur actors and truly i must say that i just can't believe the boy's acting). they just don't make movies like that anymore - or do they?. not wanting to cre8 this in2 a movie review blog you can either termin8 this message or vice versa (oops ok ok no more) (:-)). gt