Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tony Curtis R.I.P.

The media are full of tributes to Tony Curtis who died today, and as is right and proper most of them mention The Defiant Ones and of course Some Like It Hot. So I would like to pay my own tribute by way of a clip from the other comedy in which he starred with Jack Lemmon: Blake Edwards' The Great Race. This excerpt has surely the greatest pie fight in cinema history: and through it all (almost to the end) Curtis in his white suit remains utterly spotless. No mean feat of special effects in the days before CGI.



Sorry I couldn't find a clip without the aspect ratio squashed. Yes, there are two Jack Lemmons: this scene is part of a subplot sending up The Prisoner of Zenda. And the music is by Henry Mancini.

Amazingly, when I went to buy the film on DVD a few years ago it was only available as a Region 1 American import. I see that now there are a small number of copies of a German version available as Region 2 DVDs, though whether they have an English language track I don't know. That appals me. This was the second film I saw by myself at the cinema as a child, and I have loved it ever since. My children in turn grew up with my video from a TV transmission, and the film has become part of our lives, with "Push the button, Max!", "If we'd turned right back there we'd have ended up on the Montmartre steps", "Rise and Shine!" "And now, car number 5, the engine falls out", "Brandy! More brandy!" and "I'd like to see the Great Leslie try THAT one!" receiving many an airing chez Saunders. I don't know anyone who has seen the film and not thought it was hilarious, so why no proper Region 2 British release? A mystery.

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