“A lot of you may ask yourselves, ‘how come we’re out to destroy a town that has no industry. No enemy bases. No strategic value to anyone.’ ”
That $64,000 question says all you need to know about the absurdity and genius of Mike Nichols’ “CATCH-22.” Now with this clip, yes there is the va-va-va-vooom factor. But that obvious tidbit is truly besides the point. This scene is about HOW to play comedy; the dead pan and over-the-top delivery of the cast members is perfect. They all play at different comedy registers and play different notes: Martin Balsam, Buck Henry, Richard Benjamin and Alan Arkin. The silly look on Austin Pendleton’s face is hilarious, but the one that puts me over the edge is Orson Welles. When he faces his platoon to see their squirming and moaning, he turns to his aide and says: “Somebody’s gonna get it.” I’m wiped out an done. Who better to thread the needle and walk the razor’s edge but director Mike Nichols who sadly passed away last November. This clip, from 1970, is still a pretty funny scene. I’ve got to check out this movie.