Kehr’s Weekly Recap: The Great Race (1965)

Blake Edwards‘s parody of/tribute to slapstick comedy is obscenely overlong and insistently hammy, but so what? It’s highly inventive, self-conscious camp, made in 1965, well before the genre wore itself out in superciliousness. The story centers on a New York to Paris road race (think about that for a while) between the Great Leslie, a white-suited, teeth-flashing Tony Curtis, and the unscrupulous Professor Fate— Jack Lemmon in a Mack Sennett mustache. Very funny; creatively vulgar. 160 min.

 

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Kehr’s Weekly Recap: Picnic (1955)

The sometimes underrated Joshua Logan made his directorial debut with this overripe 1955 Daniel Taradash adaptation of a characteristically hyperbolic William Inge play, and the surprising thing is how much of it works—at least until the climactic dance scene with William Holden and Kim Novak, when camp and hysteria tend to take over. Jo Mielziner does such a formidable job of adapting his own theatrical set designs to homespun midwestern locations that you wonder at times if he—and maybe cinematographer James Wong Howe—shouldn’t be credited as codirectors. The secondary cast—Rosalind Russell, Susan Strasberg, Betty Field, Cliff Robertson, and Arthur O’Connell—also keep things pretty lively. 115 min.

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