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Sholay (Ramesh Sippy, 1975)

Two petty criminals are hired by a former police officer to protect his village from an evil gang.
This is the first of the 'classic' Bollywood movies from the early days that I watched. There is an acceptable amount of singing, the over-the-top comedic acting and the Western-inspired morals. Most of the scenes seem to have been lifted straight out of the American films and some suspiciously simple comedy films - I suspect mostly cartoons and silent comedies.
Things become more original when our two heroes settle in the village, fall in love and act so incredibly dumb that I couldn't help myself smiling. The characters are grotesque most of the time. The screenwriter came up with a very exaggerated idea for the old police officer, but it still worked nicely.

There are some of the more absurd details and the situations in the film that are interesting for pointing out. They are all here for comedic relief and I was trying to find with some 'typical' comedy siutations. The humor is quite plump for modern tastes, but I wanted to see if I could find the tropes.
  • The director of the jail dressed up like a Hitler look-a-like, and being a total jackass. A Mel Brooks/Lubitsch kind of thing.
  • The exaggerating tale-teller meets the subjects he is bragging about. Classic, reminds me of the Bud Spencer/Terence Hill type comedy.
  • The "Joker Punishment": The evil boss laughs his head off, until his failing hoodlums laugh with him, thinking that they got off the hook this time. But in a flash, the boss changes his mind and punishes his men evilly, usually killing them brutally. 
  • "Hidden Voice": One of the guys tells his love interest that she should marry him - disguising behind a religious statue and imitating a 'celestial' voice. This would be lifted from a place like cartoons. 
  • Cartoon chase: The women is trying to run away from her pursuer, but no matter how often she throws him off the carriage, he keeps returning - on a bike or some other ingenuous method.
  • Drunk suicide: As the pursuer can't get his woman to like him he gets totally drunk, climbs on the highest tower he can find and declares loudly that he will jump.


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The focus shifts twice in the scene: From the family table to the French Jew's table  (who I have been told wears the red …

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There are some interesting scenes in the film. I decide to examine the battle scene in the beginning. It introduces Broderick's character as a naive and brave but inexperienced soldier - a great choice of casting, especially in contrast to the hardened appearance of Washington. According to imdb footage was used from re-enactment groups and intercut with the staged film.

Before the battle scene commences Broderick walks in row of soldiers and talks over the pictures of the gathering…