Sunday, December 26, 2010

Comedy of Errors

The Human Comedy: 1943 Mickey Rooney film which I saw through no fault of my own on TCM. It's an example of that kind of American nostalgic-picture-of-village-life genre, along the lines of Our Town, Meet me in St Louis or To Kill a Mockingbird, though unfortunately lacking the bite of all three of these. Rooney is the middle male sibling of a small-town Irish family with a deceased father (who narrates, irritatingly, throughout); the younger one appears to have some sort of mental disorder, the older one is in the Army and quite visibly destined to die heroically in action before the end of the story, and Rooney spends his time failing to pay attention in class, winning school track and field meets, and Learning About Life through his after-school job as a telegram delivery boy. Mainly worth watching for the rather peculiar lesbian subtext revolving around Rooney's sister and her best friend, and there's a cute if sappy big-up for the Alternative Family at the end of the film as the Irish clan, by implication, take in the older sibling's now-disabled army buddy as a kind of adopted child. Oh, and there's a before-they-were-famous cameo from Robert Mitchum, of all people. Relentlessly sentimental and propagandistic, but peculiarly fascinating in that car-crash way.

For some reason this won an Academy Award; clearly talent was rationed that year.

Movie count for 2010: 129