Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mr. Buddwing (1966)

I truly never thought I would say this, but I just saw James Garner at his absolute worse. Growing up with a funny James Garner makes it almost impossible to watch him try his hands at drama. His face throughout the film looks like a mixture of confusion and constipation. I was unable to differentiate between when his charact Sam Buddwing was confused and when he was emotionally rocked by what was happening to him. Literally, it was painful to watch Garner's face, my own hurt from so much cringing afterwards.

Set in New York, Sam Buddwing- the character's adopted name, wakes up in Central Park one morning to the relization that he has no idea who he is or where he came from. Thus begins a mad chase around Manhattan as Buddwing meets an odd assortment of people and confuses three women with a girl named Grace. Each woman leads him into his foggy past giving him clues to who he is through flashbacks. Eventually, Buddwing realizes what he has been running from and returns to the source- his wife Grace who, the night before, tried to commit suicide.

Although I applaud the plot of the film, Garner, the jumpy cinematography,and even the score of the film were not to my taste.  As for Garner, he simply didn't have the dramatic chops to pull off this film. I'm glad he stuck with funny. He's a terribly good comedian.

Tonight on TCM!
City Lights (1931) In this silent film, the Little Tramp tries to help a blind flower seller to see again. Dir: Charles Chaplin Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee.

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