Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Good Question.

“What’s the Point of Leaving Things The Way They Are?” Murray Burns asks. I watched “A Thousand Clowns” for the umpteenth time last night. It’s the 1965 movie version of Herb Gardiner’s 1962 play about Murray Burns (Jason Robards), an affable and funny oddball who is raising his twelve-year-old genius nephew in New York City. But Murray has quit his job writing for the “Chuckles the Chipmunk” show and the Child Welfare Bureau has come to investigate his lifestyle. The movie is also about who is the bigger fool in this life—the shlemiel (jerk who always spills the soup) or the shlimazl (putz who always gets soup spilled on himself). And it’s about the balancing act between conforming but not losing our identity. Murray’s commentaries on life and interactions with people on the street are reminiscent of Jean Shepherd’s old 1950’s WOR radio show. Gardiner acknowledged he based Murray on Shepherd. It’s said Shepherd was not pleased. In any case, “A Thousand Clowns” has some very funny stuff even 50 years later. And the answer to Murray's question, “What’s the Point of Leaving Things The Way They Are?”? There is no point. We can’t leave things the way they are because they are always changing. But at least we can have the fun of shaking people up a little.

1 comment:

debbe goldstein said...

one of my most favorite movies ever.