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Papa’s Delicate Condition

Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963) starring Jackie Gleason, Glynis Johns, Charles Ruggles, Linda Bruhl

Papa's Delicate Condition - Jackie Gleason - co-starring Glynis Johns - Jackie Gleason stars in an Oscar® winning charmerEditorial review of  Papa’s Delicate Condition, courtesy of Amazon.com

buy-from-amazon In the history of television, Jackie Gleason was one of the all-time biggest stars (in terms of both popularity and tonnage). Unfortunately, he never achieved the same level of success on the big screen. In movies, Gleason fared best in supporting roles, such as his dramatic  turns in  The Hustler  (1961) and  Requiem for a Heavyweight  (1962) or his scene-stealing mugging in  Smokey and the Bandit  (1977). Overall, Gleason s leading roles were few and ill-fitting; but he found a superb showcase for his talents as the soused center of  Papa s Delicate Condition.This charming family film, based on the childhood remembrances of silent film actress Corrine Griffith, stars Gleason as Jack Griffith, a fun-loving railroad supervisor and family man.

Jack s delicate condition referred to in the title is the state of intoxication; and when the old boy is in his cups, he concocts outrageous ideas, including buying a drug store in order to obtain a key to the liquor cabinet. Jack s love of the bottle is only rivaled by his devotion to his youngest daughter, Corrie (Linda Bruhl), who shares his strong will and love of Dixieland jazz. Unfortunately, Jack and Corrie s shenanigans often run counter to the wishes of Jack s socially-conscious wife (Glynis Johns).

Gleason is the whole show in Papa’s Delicate Condition, but his outsized personality carries the film effortlessly. Of course the role was no great stretch. Gleason was well-known as a free-spending, jazz-loving drunk in real life. The part also contained an added comfort level in that it included aspects of two of the Great One’s most popular TV characters — €“the grandiose scheming and marital strife of Ralph Kramden combined with the boozing and bombast of Reginald Van Gleason III. Surprisingly, although the role appeared to be tailor made for the Great One, Gleason only procured the part when Fred Astaire became unavailable.

As for the merits of the movie, it is a pleasant enough, nostalgic, family comedy — €“somewhat similar to the type of Disney films that Hayley Mills starred in during the Sixties. It also has the feel of a musical with very little music (Gleason does get to belt Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey and drunkenly slur the Oscar-winning song Call Me Irresponsible ). However mild the script, Jackie Gleason s charismatic performance elevates this flick to a soused cinema must see. — €”Garv of BoozeMovies.com

 Description of Papa’s Delicate Condition

Jackie Gleason stars in this warm-hearted look back at one family’s larger than life father. Set at the start of the 20th century, Gleason plays Jack Griffith, a gregarious railroad man whose love for his family is rivaled only by his love for the bottle. Griffith’s penchant for outrageous behavior, followed up by a more outrageous gift to atone for it, has begun to alienate his wife and oldest daughter, although his youngest still adores her father. Gleason portrays Griffith’s “delicate condition” with a mixture of humor and humanity, and the end result is a moving portrait of a family’s ups and downs. Gleason’s performance of the Academy Award ® winning song “Call Me Irresponsible” is not to be missed.


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