Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Banana Joe (4 Stars)

This is something new for me. It's the first film I've seen that stars Bud Spencer without his lifelong buddy Terence Hill. The big man proves that he can carry a film on his own. Nevertheless, I miss Terence. I'm so used to seeing the two of them together.

I had to watch "Banana Joe" because it was referenced a few times in the documentary I watched last weekend, "They called him Spencer". Evidently it's one of the most popular films among his fans. It's a fantastic comedy film, and the story was written by Bud himself, using his real name, Carlo Pedersoli. Does that mean he has a split personality? Ask Fred Olen Ray, the man with a thousand names.

The film was made in 1982 and takes place in Colombia. Bud plays a good-hearted, simple-minded giant called Banana Joe. That's the only name he has. He's never known his parents, he's never been to school, and he doesn't know what his real name is. He picks bananas on a small island and delivers them to the mainland to earn money to build a school. He wants the children on his island to be smarter than he is.

His plans are endangered when a large company wants to take over the banana picking on his island. Until now everything has been done informally, but now he needs a license to transport bananas to the mainland. That's difficult for a man who has no official name and no birth certificate. He has to travel to the big city, and like Tarzan he's confronted with a new world. He sees new inventions like cars and televisions for the first time.

It's a great big world in the big cities of Colombia, but Bud is a great big man. Everyone has to stop and stare at him.

Bud buys a suit so that he can fit in. It almost works.

He meets a beautiful German woman and takes her on a date, but he doesn't know how to behave. All he eats is a plate of bananas, and he can't stop staring at her legs. Poor Bud. He's never seen a white woman before.

The film is good, light-hearted fun. It's impossible not to like any of Bud Spencer's films. They're not deep and meaningful, but they make you laugh. What more do you want?

Sadly, Bud Spencer is hardly known in England. I don't understand why. He's well known throughout the world, just not in England. Most of his films are available on DVD in America. In Germany they're available on Blu-ray. Germans were always more advanced than America when it comes to technology. I can only find three of his films that have been officially released in England. If you're an English fan you have to import his films from America or Germany.

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