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Daily Dose of Doozy #12: Live-Action Cartoon as Slapstick: Blake Edwards


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#61 riffraf

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 10:17 AM

1.     Describe specifically how this scene looks and feels like a "live action" cartoon.

 

One cannot help but compare this clip with same look and feel of a Roadrunner Wiley Coyote cartoon.  The animated sparkle in the Great Leslie’s smile, the fumbling villains with the large harpoon gadget for the “shock and awe” factor in their attempt to bring down the hot air balloon, all similar to the attempts of the determined coyote to make a meal out of the very clever and super fast roadrunner. And like in the cartoons, the elaborate plans and devices used to stop, capture or destroy the roadrunner/hero, will backfire and cause more damage and destruction to the coyote/villain.

 

2.     In what ways does this scene function as “homage" to earlier slapstick comedies?

 

The time period this clip portrays, early in the twentieth century, seems to be an obvious homage to the days of the earlier slapstick comedies and to the earliest days of movie making itself.  With early year vintage cars and clothes/fashion of the day all reflects the comic films we have reviewed from our earlier classes. The time period is a perfect fit.

 

3.     How does Blake Edwards depict The Great Leslie (Curtis) as the "definitive hero" and Professor Fate (Lemmon) as the "definitive villain?"

 

Blake Edwards depicts The Great Leslie as the definitive hero by having him always dressed in all white attire.  Women throw themselves at him while men applaud his daring deeds.  Professor Fate is the definitive villain very much like the cartoon character of Snidley Whiplash from The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, dressed head to toe in black and constantly trying to foil the all too good heroes of the show. 


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#62 Mandroid51

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 09:54 AM

1. Describe specifically how this scene looks and feels like a "live action" cartoon.

I'm not seeing the follow up animated credit sequence, but I can see that it is well executed in terms of shots and editing with comic-like framing and juxtaposing large wide angled framed shots with close ups of the action on the ground and the antagonists along with air balloon shots including Curtis's straight jacket escape fete and parachute trick.

2. In what ways does this scene function as an "homage" to earlier slapstick comedies?

It includes much if not all of the slapstick elements including exaggerated action and subject, violent harpoon attempt to foil the efforts for the fete to be pulled off, physical and there is a repetition almost ritual nature to diving from a air ballon with a parachute.

3. How does Blake Edwards depict The Great Leslie (Curtis) as the "definitive hero" and Professor Fate (Lemmon) as the "definitive villain?"

Curtis is made to look (typically in white) like the hero against death defying odds and villain wears dark and I believe even had a moustache like the cliche moustache and railroad tied up damsel in distress to thwart the Hero efforts depiction. He has an accomplice that also looks like a baddy in appearance. Very cliched but effective in appearance depiction.
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#63 Marianne

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 09:53 AM

I'm a big fan of Jack Lemmon and The Great Race. I saw it for the first time recently on DVD for this course. Pardon my enthusiasm and my digressions below!!!

1. Describe specifically how this scene looks and feels like a “live-action” cartoon.

The brilliant colors of the hot-air balloon and of the costumes certainly add to the feeling of a live-action cartoon. I kept thinking of ice cream parlor décor from back in the day when the chairs and tables had metal scrollwork and padded seats . . . . But I digress! Then the clip has other details (spoofs): the women who can’t resist The Great Leslie, the literal sparkle to his teeth when The Great Leslie smiles for the camera, the bush that moves across the landscape, Professor Fate dressed all in black (and if you’re a fan of Jack Lemmon, his appearance onscreen could be said to signal fun to come), the woman fainting and the screaming after the hole in the balloon is spotted by spectators, the band music punctuating dramatic events, the hot-air balloon landing on the villain and his assistant. . . . Need I say more?!

2. In what ways does the scene function as an “homage” to earlier slapstick comedies?

I think the visual details, although updated with color and technical touches (like the sparkle to the teeth), are the most prominent examples of homage. The narrative and the action and the gags (see answer to number 1) are more examples of homage.

3. How does Blake Edwards depict The Great Leslie (Curtis) as the “definitive hero” and Professor Fate (Lemmon) as the “definitive villain”?

Even before this scene in the clip starts, Edwards makes sure viewers know who the hero and the villain are. But in this clip, it’s The Great Leslie dressed all in white and clean-cut, and Professor Fate dressed all in black and plotting evil with his rocket to the balloon. Although I think viewers know from the start that The Great Leslie will always come out unscathed and that Professor Fate will never really inflict any harm with his evil deeds: the hot-air balloon landing on him and his assistant is one clue, but in the action after the clip, even Professor Fate and his assistant Max get out alive!


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#64 Dr. Rich Edwards

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 09:32 AM

The final Daily Dose of the films of the 1950s and 1960s features the opening scene from Blake Edwards' super deluxe homage to slapstick, The Great Race. This is our second major The Great Race clip this week, with the film's famous pie fight featured in Breakdown of a Gag, Episode 7.

 

Please discuss how this film's opening sets up the live-action cartoon mood and atmosphere for the entire film. And Blake Edwards literally spared no expense to get that look -- as The Great Race was the most expensive comedy ever made at that point in time.

 

As usual, all of the Daily Doses are archived at Canvas.net course under the "Daily Dose of Doozy" link.

 

Enjoy your discussions!


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Richard Edwards, PhD

Ball State University

Instructor: TCM Presents: The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock (2017)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies (2016)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir (2015)

 

 





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