Tuesday, 26 June 2007

WHY SIR NORMAN WISDOM FAMOUS IN MANY COUNTRIES?


By Fatmir Terziu

Due to repressive regime, the iron hand in an iron glove of a gent named Enver Hoxha (who died in 1985 after forty years of ruthless dictatorship) Albania’s intake from the decadent Western world was, to put it mildly, sparse. But no-one, not even the most zealous commissar could find any threat to destabilize the country from little Norman Pitkin, the name they gave me in many of my films – or ‘Pitkini’, as the Albanians called me. Subversive? I wouldn’t know how to spell the word, or want to. Apparently the dictator decreed that Norman Pitkin was a ‘proletarian hero’ to Mr. Grimsdale’s capitalist ogre” (Wisdom, 2001:274).



To millions of people around the world Norman Wisdom in his cloth cap and ill-fitting suit is the living embodiment of the little man battling against the forces of authority and pomposity. All the laughter and tears of Norman Wisdom’s 92 years are here in the wonderful story of Britain’s best-loved and most successful comedian since Charlie Chaplin (The Spectator). For McCabe “Wisdom is a typically British hero…” (McCabe, 2005: 31). Wisdom won a BAFTA for his success in Trouble in Store. “Wisdom’s American period continued strongly” (Dacre, 1991: 79).
Wisdom's films were some of the most profitable in the Rank roster, both domestically and as far a field as Holland, Denmark, India and Iran. His films with no political background made him popular in China, Russia and Albania during the dictatorial regime. Wisdom’s films, in which he usually played a family man worker who outsmarts his boss, were some of the few Western films considered acceptable by the country’s communist rulers, thus Albanians grew familiar and attached to Wisdom, who became “Clown Prince of Albania” (BBC: 2001).
At first let see what Sir Norman Wisdom answered: “The short answer is: Because they kept asking me! In fact they had been asking me for years, and I had no idea why because nobody told me. All I do know is that in January 1995 I had first embarked on one of the strangest and unlikeliest trip of mw life, to a country that up to then had only been a vague blob on the map somewhere near Greece. The invitations kept coming in, and finally I found out why. All my films back in the Fifties and Sixties had proved enormously popular with the locals, possibly because they had very little else to laugh at. Due to repressive regime, the iron hand in an iron glove of a gent named Enver Hoxha (who died in 1985 after forty years of ruthless dictatorship) Albania’s intake from the decadent Western world was, to put it mildly, sparse. But no-one, not even the most zealous commissar could find any threat to destabilize the country from little Norman Pitkin, the name they gave me in many of my films – or ‘Pitkini’, as the Albanians called me. Subversive? I wouldn’t know how to spell the word, or want to. Apparently the dictator decreed that Norman Pitkin was a ‘proletarian hero’ to Mr. Grimsdale’s capitalist ogre” (Wisdom, 2001:274).
According to what Sir Norman Wisdom answered the general proposition is that political reasons are found to build this relationship, which lasted for many years between Albanians and Pitkini, whole-loved character, even by the upper class of that time in this small country in Balkan Peninsula. Loorking beneath into this proposition comments are been made by academics and politicians in both countries, UK and Albania. For UK publishers it is more likely to be linked with the new opening to the West and the past to be shown as a new light for judgment in a long way to democracy in Albania.
However for many it is a research for new and old friends in this new way. To this point is the link that Albanian politicians tried to benefit. As Sir Norman told: “but there was President Berisha himself waiting at the end of the room to shake my hand. Welcome to our country, he said, in excellent English. You are so funny! And he burst out laughing” (Wisdom, 2001:278). Albanian politicians expressed their hospitality to fulfill the gap of the past and to change the face of the country forgotten from the West for more than fifty years.
Mainly were is the fact that Norman wisdom’s films was inspiration particularly for many Albanian filmmakers who had been caught in the mood of opposition to established culture in the Fifties and Sixties and it seemed that the Wisdom style victories won against Russian traditional forms of filmmaking in those years held the key of new aesthetic possibilities. And yet films such as Kapedani began to dominate with its humor and slapsticks, plot and action that were far in advance of realism modes. In his own words, the general character of this film, describes the hardships, tragedies and triumphs that gave him his inspiration to make his rapid climb up similar to what made Norman Wisdom a big name the showbiz ladder "Abbott and Costello, Ma and Pa Kettle, Norman Wisdom, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin are a dying breed it seems going by movies these days. Where are the great comedy geniuses or comedy duo's gone that use to make you laugh watching movie after movie in the 50's, 60’s and 70's. All the comedy back then seemed so simple, they made people laugh and sometimes cry with jokes that were just one line magic. These days’ comedies are all about effects and what the movies really don't show is the brilliance of comedians like they use to. It’s a dieing breed the comedy duo teams of the past, I for one miss it, I use to love a great Dean Martin Jerry Lewis movie, I remember how brilliant Abbott and Costello were and when you watch them again you realize they still are. I miss the good old comedy duo, it’s about time Hollywood brought it back". 


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