Sometimes my father-in-law likes to turn it to the Turner Classic Movies channel on weekend afternoons. I've noticed that old movies tend to have really drawn-out scenes, well beyond the attention spans of people nowadays. Actually, my father-in-law is usually asleep within the first 20 minutes of the movie, meaning it could be all generations.
I realize this makes me sound like some stupid little kid with a short attention span, but those TCM afternoons have made me wary of older movies. Still, I decided to bite on A Thousand Clowns after being inundated with praise from Jesse Thorn, host of The Sound of Young America and proprietor of MaximumFun.org. I was not disappointed.
A Thousand Clowns tells the story of a man who refuses to grow up and conform to what society expects of him. That is, until child protective services comes knocking and tries to take away his nephew that has been living with him for six years, and he is forced to make some changes. The wild at heart guy that refuses to get a job and lives his life the way he wants to might be more common in film these days, but when this film came out in 1965 it was hardly a normal plotline.
I found the whole movie charming and touching. It's easy to grow a bit attached to the characters over the course of watching it, and it made me laugh on several occasions. It is definitely worth a watch, and afterwards you can listen to Jesse Thorn's interview with Barry Gordon, who played the nephew for whom the protagonist is fighting.
Now, I try to not feature anything that isn't 100% legal in my Insufficient Funds posts, but this one might cross the line a little. A Thousand Clowns is out of print and completely unavailable to purchase anywhere. So, unless you happen to randomly catch it on Turner Classic Movies, there isn't a way that you can watch it legally. As such, I'll break my rule and link you to it on YouTube, as well as a Torrent that you can use to download it. Should you enjoy it as much as I did, be sure to pick it up if they ever release it on DVD and then we'll be even.