|Van Dyke had a small cameo role in this so-so Shirley MacLaine comedy|
|The original poster for Mary Poppins, which transformed Dick Van Dyke as Burt the chimney sweep (with a faux British accent), into a major movie star.|
|Van Dyke's first "sixties sex comedy", featuring Ethel Merman as "Madame Coco"|
|the Australian version of the poster. The Aussie's had a knack for never being able to capture an American likeness on a film poster.|
|Lovely art (by one of the James Bond poster artists), lousy film, though the chimp was funny.|
|Another version. Yup, the chimp clearly steals the show|
|A more amusing illustrated poster for the British version and a spanish version...|
|Same film, different Fitzwilly pose|
|... but always a Dull film. An unfunny, lifeless clinker with a fun poster.|
|A second poster version|
|From the same folks who brought you James Bond, and another hit musical comedy for Dick Van Dyke (not attempting a British accent this time around.|
|"The Comic" was a long planned dream project for Dick Van Dyke and writer/director Carl Reiner, a fictional biography of a troubled, self destructive silent film comedian named Billy Bright, loosely based on Buster Keaton, with a little Stan Laurel, Harry Langdon and Lloyd Hamilton thrown in.|
Trailer's from Hell on "The Comic"...
The film premiered in 1969 with barely a notice (I saw it shortly after it opened on second bill with "The Desperado's" starring Vince Edwards... which actually wasn't bad!), but over the years it's become a cult favorite. It's heavily flawed, much of the dialog between Van Dyke and Michelle Lee sounds far too similar to Rob and Laura Petrie dialog, actors appear in the 1920's with late sixties haircuts and sideburns, Billy Bright's erratic behavior is never fully explained, the late sixties color is too garish, etc)...
Yet the film still has some unforgettable sequences recreating vintage silent film comedy, a memorable Steve Allen show sequence and an hilarious Billy Bright TV commercial for "Whitey White", a great, subtle performance by Mickey Rooney as fellow film comic and pal "Cockeye", and especially Dick Van Dyke, Oscar worthy as Billy Bright, particularly during his sad final days, old, bald, alone and forgotten in his small Hollywood apartment.
Would some company please finally get this out on DVD! Sheesh!!
My blog on THE COMIC:
|the Australian poster|