Rip Van Winkle (1960)
aka Rip van Wyk
Article 5567 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Emil Nofal
Featuring Jamie Uys, Wynona Cheyney, Gert van den Burgh
Country: South Africa
What it is: Fish-out-of-water comedy
A man from 1860 drinks a potion given to him by a bearded passer-by, and wakes up one hundred years in the future.
I bought the movie under the RIP VAN WYK title, but the title on the film itself is RIP VAN WINKLE, which made me suspect that it was to be a straightforward rendering of the old legend, and for the first ten minutes or so, it feels like it is. However, in place of the gnomes and the bowling game, we have a bearded man whose presence is responsible for the man’s jump to the future, and it doesn’t appear that he slept that long, either; he’s the same age as when he began. It’s basically a likable fish-out-of-water comedy in which the man tries to come to terms with his change of environment, only to run afoul of the police in the interim and to be believed mad. Though it’s amusing enough, you spend much of the movie wondering if there’s a point or a purpose beyond the comic set-up. There is, but it takes quite a while to get to it, and I won’t give it away except to say that it’s about the main character’s being given an opportunity to right an inadvertent wrong he committed in the past. In some ways the movie is a bit obvious, but it’s a solid, satisfying movie and lightly amusing.