Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin in the Bronx” (1970).
One of the great things about doing the movie of the week post is I get to point my readers to quality movies either forgotten or missed. This week’s movie belongs to those categories.
Gene Wilder received rave reviews for his portrayal of the funeral director in “Bonnie and Clyde”. Then he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Mel Brooks’ “The Producers”. For his fourth film, he chose a quiet little movie, “Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx”. He was joined by another actor just starting out her career, Margot Kidder. This was before “Terms of Endearment” and her Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve’s Superman.
“Quackser” is what one reviewer, Gene Shalit, called an earthy romance. What could be more earthy than manure? Horse manure, to be exact. Of all the jobs in the world, I can’t think of one I’d rather not do than manure salesman. Like they say, and they say it a lot, it’s a tough job and somebody’s got to do it.
Quackser, portrayed by Gene Wilder, not only does it but he enjoys the work. He is both manure collector and manure salesman pushing his cart around Dublin and collecting the the leavings of the horses that pull the dairy vans. Then he sells the horse dung to housewives as fertilizer for their flower beds and gardens.
Plying his trade, Quackser sees himself living the life of Riley. He is his own boss. If he chooses to take a few hours off for a bit on the side, there’s no one to tell him no. If he wants to quit at one in the afternoon and take a pint with a female friend, no one’s going to stop him. He works out doors all day. He gets to see the streets of Dublin. Being a man who likes people, he is able to meet all types.
Quackser is an entrepreneur, though a lot think not. He operates a business with a low overhead. His product is free for the taking. The only overhead he has is his sandwiches for lunch and keeping his cart in good running shape. On top of that, he’s doing a public service and not charging the city. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Unfortunately a month after the movie starts, the dairy send away all the horses and replace them for motorized vans. Seems that the horse drawn vans are going the way of the buggy whip and buckboard, reminding the viewer that technological progress has a cost.
Don’t think this movie is just about manure. It isn’t. As I said earlier, it’s an earthy romance. Margot Kidder is an American student at Trinity College. She almost runs him down in a borrowed red sports car. Quackser and Margot fall into a romance. They are two people from two different worlds. Yet they are attracted to each other.
The romance and the downside of his business is enough to force Quackser to realize it’s time for a change. He either must get a job in the foundry or go off to the Bronx in America. Fortunately his name isn’t Quackser Fortune for nothing. See this little gem. It will put a smile on your face.