Gigot (1962), starring Jackie Gleason
Simply put, Gigot is one of the finest films I’ve ever seen. The phrase that keeps coming to my mind is “Chaplinesque” — it’s cliched, and it’s trite, but it’s absolutely accurate. In Gigot, Jackie Gleason plays the title role of Gigot, a mute man living in Paris around the turn of the twentieth century. He is loved by children and dogs but picked upon by the various adults in the film. The first third of the film sets his character, as his landlady/employer gyps him of his wages as her janitor. “You lean too hard on the broom — you wore it out!” His ‘friends’ make him the butt of jokes, etc. In fact, the only adult who treats him with any kindness at all is the priest at the local Catholic church.
One night, after his ‘friends’ have used him as the butt of a practical joke again. This ends with their getting him drunk, Gigot is sitting out in the rain, alone. Walking home, he encounters a little girl named Nicole and her mother, both seemingly homeless. He demonstrates the largeness of his heart by taking them to his basement ‘home’ and sharing what little he has with them. (more…)
Jackie Gleason biography
Herbert John “Jackie” Gleason (b. February 26, 1916, Brooklyn, New York; d. June 24, 1987, Inverrary, Florida), an American comedian and actor, was one of the most popular and respected stars of television’s coming-of-age years. Though Jackie Gleason earned tandem respect for his periodic dramatic work in film and television, his major legacy has been his brash visual and verbal comedy—especially as delivered in The Honeymooners, which began as a segment of his popular variety show but took on a life of its own beginning a decade after he tried it as a separate half-hour television series.(more…)