Troublemaker, The (1964)

Troublemaker, The (1964)

“Is there not one man among you with evidence of the graft and corruption that we all know exists? Armed with that evidence, I will root out the evil and the evildoers!”

A naive chicken farmer (Tom Aldredge) moves to New York City in hopes of opening a coffee shop. Against the advice of his lawyer-friend (Buck Henry), he signs a lease on property owned by a corrupt businessman (James Frawley), and immediately finds himself embroiled in a web of systemic corruption.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Character Arc
  • Comedy
  • Corruption
  • New York City

This largely improvisational comedy (starring members of a Greenwich Village comedy troupe known as “The Premise”) plays like a patchy sit-com, with occasional flickers of humor thoroughly overshadowed by a sloppy script and stereotypical characters. Aldredge’s character is so dumb (at first) that he’s literally hard to watch (he deserves what happens to him), while Henry (better known as screenwriter for The Graduate) comes across as little more than a Jack Lemmon-wannabe, and director Theodore Flicker is simply atrocious in a cameo as Mr. Big, the city crime commissioner. Frawley and Joan Darling (as Henry’s artsy friend) emerge as the most amusing of the bunch, but they’re unable to sustain this tiresome flick.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • James Frawley in triple roles as a corrupt gangster, cop, and judge

  • Joan Darling as Denver James

Must See?
No; it’s not clear why this dated comedy is listed in the back of Peary’s book.


2 thoughts on “Troublemaker, The (1964)

  1. First viewing. Not a must.

    To be more precise: ghastly cinematic embarrassment, filled to overflowing with forced, obvious humor; a kind of torture to be avoided no matter what.

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