Monday, 14 February 2011


A recommendation, one of a number of excellent things on YouTube that probably shouldn't be: the Sylvester Stallone movie Oscar.

Oscar is ultimately based on a 1958 French stage play by Claude Magnier concerning various personal and financial tribulations in the household of an industrialist (his daughter tells him she's pregnant, and his accountant has embezzled a large sum of money, and so on). It flopped as a 1960 English stage adaptation for Terry-Thomas called It's in the Bag. There was a 1967 straight adaptation in French, Oscar, but John Landis's 1991 English version made an inspired adaptation decision to make the main character an American gangster, Angelo "Snaps" Provolone, who has promised his dying father that he will go straight.

This is a highly under-rated film. As the Chicago Tribune review said, it's slow starting, but then rapidly picks up as fast-paced farce, with Stallone showing a pleasant talent for comedy as the long-suffering Snaps. He's backed up by a cast of generally eccentric characters such as Dr. Thornton Poole (Tim Curry as the weird but enthusiastic linguistics expert who is coaching Snaps in elocution; Lisa Provolone (Marisa Tomei as Snaps's spoiled but ultimately goodhearted daughter); and the Finucci brothers (two dapper tailors whose proud account of how many they "do" in a week horrifies another character who has been told by Snaps that they are hit-men).

Having just a tattered videotape, we just bought the DVD.

- Ray

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