Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Not many directors know how to handle pauses. John Ford was the master; an actor would speak a line, and that would mean one thing, and then nobody in the room would say anything at all for 10 seconds, and then the line and the scene would mean something else.
Pauses are especially crucial in comedy. Pauses may even be comedy. It wasn't what W. C. Fields said so much as the time he took to say it. And in John Huston's "Beat the Devil," the dialog was funny because Humphrey Bogart held back in conversations where Robert Morley and Jennifer Jones were hurrying ahead.
Robert Parrish's "Duffy" is a movie mostly made up of pauses. Unhappily, Parrish does not understand the pause, and so what we mostly get are dead spaces with James Coburn smiling enigmatically.
A pause is not a time when nothing is happening; a pause is a time when everything is happening. Why Parish chose to shoot "Duffy" in such a curious style is beyond me, but you may even enjoy the movie because the timing and editing are handled so badly -- yet with such great pretension.