665. The Big Story – Tim Watts, David Stoten

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SUMMARY: A heated discussion in a newspaper office is played out between three versions of Kirk Douglas at different stages of his career.

WHY IT’S HERE: Tim Watts and David Stoten’s ‘The Big Story’ is one of the shortest Oscar nominees ever. At just over a minute and a half in length, this superb little comedy relies heavily on the audience having seen at least a handful of Kirk Douglas films, although fans of classic Hollywood will get a kick out of the spot-on take-off of the hard bitten dialogue. ‘The Big Story’ features just three characters, all of whom are portrayed by a caricature of Kirk Douglas at various stages of his career. Everything about the film is perfectly observed, from the symbolic actions of the characters to the various types that Douglas was so good at portraying. The models of Douglas are instantly recognisable, thanks to the great work of Stoten and Watts, who British viewers will be unsurprised to hear worked on the groundbreaking political satire series ‘Spitting Image’. All three Douglases are voiced by spot-on impressionist Frank Gorshin. The punchline of the film, though very simple, always makes me laugh out loud. Some have complained that the film is too short but its brevity is one of its great strengths. Extending the joke beyond this point would have been to spread it too thinly. As it is, we have the perfect comedy sketch.

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