Drosera

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About Drosera

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    Member
  • Birthday September 8

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    North Carolina
  • Interests
    Over the top fan of Silent films, Legends cars, life masks, photography, nature... ah, the list goes on and on.

    I'm an happily married, recent empty-nester from Chicago (proper) now living in VERY rural NC.

    ..... are those banjos I hear??
  1. Very well stated! And though I slammed Dice, I ****MUST**** say, he appeared on Arsenio Hall's talk show many years back. Hall just kept saying, "Ya gotta be clean"... "ya gotta be clean"... Arsenio provided the slapstick relief THAT night. Dice went out and was CLEAN and HILARIOUS. Not even a great grandmother would have been offended... His stage act is filthy. But it's well-tooled filth and equally hilarious.. and it's what evidently sells. I think he's along the lines of Alice Cooper... his act serves as a catharsis...(Alice's quote about his own concerts). That modern day comics are hard-working there is no doubt... But as with the comedians of yore, all are not everyone's cup of tea. To be honest, I neither like nor do I "get" the Marx Brothers. I don't think they're funny. I watched half the Sanity clip and wanted to rip my ears off. I opted to just skip the rest. lol Golly I hope the last part's not on the quiz tomorrow! hahahahahahahah
  2. 1. How would you compare Abbott and Costello's style of verbal slapstick in this clip with Groucho and Chico's style from Daily Dose #6? This clip, of Abbott and Costello, relies more heavily on props and setting than Groucho and Chico's.... and, in my opinion, it's not one of their more complex verbal exchanges. A&C is, in this case, less rapid fire than G&C. Part of the charm in both cases draws on the familiarity we have w/ their characters. 2. Wes Gehring's observation about the "polish" of Abbott and Costello's comedy routines is also a criticism of today's comedians that seem to lack "taste [and] timing." Even though it is a general comment, do you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with Gehring's lament about contemporary comedy. I agree with Mr. Gehring. The second shift (first being away from the Silent masters) is away from material requiring attention to detailed verbal & visual exchanges of the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, Gorge Carlin or Stephen Wright to the visual mess, er chaos, which is Gallagher's Sledge-o-Matic or auditory assault of Richard Pryor or Andrew Dice Clay's profanity. 3. For those of you more familiar with the overall film career of Abbott and Costello (beyond this brief clip), what do you think is their biggest contribution to visual and/or verbal slapstick? In my opinion, Abbott and Costello are the "every-man"... they're usually working stiffs whom humor finds and generally abuses. I think their contribution is that they had a way of including the viewer IN their situation.. You can see both sides and understand the confusion, but it compounds the hilarity. You know the name of the player on First, but can see how Costello would be confused... and on and on. That gag is pure, unadulterated verbal slapstick at it's best.
  3. Drosera

    Laurel and Hardy

    When I Googled it... it referred disparagingly to someone who eat earwax...
  4. Drosera

    Problems with Canvas Dashboard?

    Good evening. I took the first quiz without incident and was scored immediately. The next time I logged on, my Dashboard says I have no enrollments. I am able to hop to any of the other pages via the history on my pc and they're fine. It does show the current time as well as my quiz score from earlier, so I guess I'm not too concerned... as long as I'm still enrolled, which I guess I am as is does offer the "drop this course" option. lol Just letting you know about the odd wrinkle. Thanks so much. Have a great, safe weekend! Lisa aka Drosera
  5. Drosera

    Mickey

    I'm looking forward to the Professor's comments as well. JohnT3 When I saw "Mickey" listed as one of our titles I thought, "Surely that's not the Mickey I watched ages back. That's not slapstick." I revisited it, for class, and it is, indeed, one and the same... but a couple of thoughts occurred to me, since I was keeping in mind our given "slapstick requirements". We're approaching slapstick from a comedic perspective for the most part, [ WK1.2's "Slapstick, a type of physical comedy", "Outrageous make-believe violence has always been a key attraction of slapstick comedy,", ""slapstick" came to cover various forms of violent comedy."] the key word in all those quotes being "comedy". But, as in the case of Mickey, the slapstick elements while there are not particularly comedic. So perhaps just being slapstick (absurd situations, exaggerated aspects, etc) and not necessarily funny, it's still used to let the audience know that no one was hurt, that's it's all just make believe. I also noticed that there's an interior scene where the camera actually pans to the left, instead of remaining stationary. Very exciting!!!
  6. 1. What elements (set design, costume, prop, camera placement, acting) make this gag effective as visual comedy? I think what makes this, and most of Keaton's work, effective is that no matter how absurd the props are (the porch railing, light as a feather piano, saggy ceiling), Keaton takes it all in stride and meets the task at hand head-on; as we so often have to do in life. I think that's part of his tremendous appeal all these years later. This would fall under "content" rather than any of the aforementioned aspects. The set and props are outlandish. We know from the very beginning of the clip that it's going to be slapstick just by the gent carrying the piano... by his gait and mannerisms. He's a wonderful caricature. The railing is brilliant! I'm amazed no one has patented that! Such a space saver! The camera placement, as someone stated, allows you to take in the entire scene and when you suddenly realize they're actually showing the ceiling, prior to hoisting the piano, you know it's a prop and to be watched! (( Ceiling? We don't need no stinking ceiling! )) I think it's wonderful that Buster and his wife are on the same page throughout the film. What a cute couple! They play it charmingly. You want them to succeed. The scene w/ the hearts painted on the building... one of the best in cinema history, in my opinion. 2. In what ways do you sense that Keaton's comedy differs from that of Charlie Chaplin? Keaton rushes headlong and is ready to take on the world. Chaplin is a bit more thoughtful of situations and less physical, over all. Which is only to say he's not AS manic as Keaton; for both are wonderful, physical actors. lol 3. When you watch a scene like this with Buster Keaton, what contributions do you sense he added to the history of slapstick comedy? I think he created a character to which most people could relate to rather than Chaplin's character who elicited a feeling of empathy, more often than not. Keaton's character(s) was the original poster boy for "Just Do It !" and paved the way for strong, independent characters. Not to say they were all the brightest, but they tended to be the every-man overcoming the situation all the way along. A character could be normal, not absurd, as long as the situation smacked of that required make believe aspect. That he set the bar extremely high on set & prop design, gag originality and physicality scale goes without saying!
  7. I love remakes. I love comparing them to each other and to the original source material, if it is existent. These two Coney Island clips strike me (pun intended) more along the lines of musical embellishment than cinematic remakes in the respect that Lloyd took the clip and owned it. He greatly expanded and tweaked it until only the initial setting / concept was left... and that was left far behind as it was a springboard for the film. Such basic alteration is beautifully illustrated in Amadeus... when Mozart plays Salieri's "March of Welcome". He tweaks the ending which then leads to him running the keyboard with it. I wonder how Keaton and Arbuckle felt about Lloyd's version...
  8. Of Compilations & Kings .... I adore Silent films... having now sat and snoozed through the "The Golden Age of Comedy" I can honestly say it does them NO SERVICE. Gratuitous pie fights and chase scenes are, to me, just as boring then as they are in today's modern era (Fast and Furious is a prime example ~ oye, shoot me, please!) Perhaps with vehicles being fairly new, back then, they were more exciting. I don't know. Ah, Perspective, thou art a troublesome waif. The only saving grace to car chases of old IS the old cars.. they're pretty cool! There are so many other WONDERFUL Silent comedy styles, actors and gags they neither touched upon nor hinted at in this compilation. T'is a shame. I did like that they presented the actors' names as well as the film titles. I still don't "get" Ben Turpin but am intrigued by Billy Bevan and another whose name escaped my frantic scribbling. booooooooooooooo In the introduction, it was stated "...when motion pictures were a purely visual medium." Am I the only one who disagrees with this? Silents were released with specific scores which accompanied them for the organist to play. My Aunt was one of these "live players for the flicker shows" she said they were quite inclusive and included sound effect notations.. Directors also had the fotoplayer machine which provided sound effects as well. Most of all, it's called "slapstick" because OF the slap stick. I maintain that sound; either music or effects or more than likely both were planned for and counted upon by the directors. They may come to us a "silent" films when found in their film canisters... but it was by no means a "purely visual medium".
  9. Not too long ago I watched a bio on Keaton... the day or day before he did the second house falling / window scene he was in a terrible place in his actual life.. He'd just been served divorce papers, was broke, and told that very day that his studio was closing down. It was stated he went into that scene not caring if he lived or died. Meh.... perhaps. Though if he'd wanted to die, it was presented to him on a gold platter that day, which he thankfully did not accept!
  10. 1. Similar to Agee and Youngson's perspective in Daily Dose #1, Canby makes a claim at the end of his analysis that there is something missing into today's visual comedies when compared to the silent classics. Do you agree or disagree with Canby? Like so many others here, I'm going to disagree with Canby.... but for a different reason (though I only read through the last four pages of comments ~ forgive me is someone early on mentioned this).... As soon as I queued this clip, and the music started, it smacked of Bugs Bunny. As the scene progressed, it has Bugs written all OVER it.... Chaplin's fingers working their way across the counter, popping the cakes in his mouth, the beset counter man with his appearance and mannerisms. This, possibly not the the extent of the banana peel has been well carried into our lexicon of humor across the ages. So, in that respect, that modern humor still has a strong connection to its roots, I feel Canby is wrong. Now, if one is talking "original" humor.... Times have changed. Humor has evolved. Just as it evolved during the Silent era. I think the visual humor of today tends more towards the over-the-top exaggerated.... where as the earlier humor was more subtle. It's merely a matter of personal preference. 2. Beyond the placement of the camera in middle distance, what other elements (set design, costume, props, acting, etc) makes this gag effective as visual comedy? I enjoy the middle distance placement of the camera.. but I was surprised that there were cut scenes to the dog and to the cop in the little window, at the end. And while I normally don't appreciate a lot of directorial censorship via over zealous editing, I will be the first to admit I did not notice the cop's window ~ I think I was too busy, like so many others, marveling at the amount of cakes Charlie scarfed. hahhaaa The setting was perfectly established, as someone else pointed out, so that the gent's back was to The Tramp.. otherwise the gag would not have worked. Props were appropriate to the setting. It allowed more focus on the acting. Very nice! As far as the costumes ~ they were established / familiar and that might qualify as "ritualistic". Overall, I had a difficult time relating this to slapstick... This clip didn't really seem, to me, to meet many of our "criteria". It wasn't physical, exaggerated, particularly make believe or terribly violent; well, until the counterman beaned the cop! I suppose the tension of "probable violence" might count.... perhaps even more than the actual violence itself! 3. What do you think a gag like this and its brilliant on-screen execution contributes to the history of slapstick comedy? This is a great gag and that it has been an influence on others, Bugs Bunny being my example, is undeniable. Someone else mentioned this scene w/ pies on a windowsill. Absolutely! That's been done from the Little Rascals to Gilligan's Island! As far as a contribution to slapstick... aside from making us consider the tension of one of the aspects (in this case the looming violence for the thefts) as enough to meet the criteria, I don't really see this as slapstick. Dang Chaplin.. he was too subtle. I missed it! hahahahaa
  11. So, like everyone else.. all of whom made WONDERFUL points.. here are my two cents. 1. Do you agree or disagree with Agee and Youngson's statements that the silent films from 1912 – 1930 constituted "comedy's greatest era" or its "golden age?" Why or why not? Looking back AT the years in question, with a broader expanse to take into account, I would say that 1912 - 1930 constituted "comedy's greatest slapstick era" and was slapstick's "golden age". Gags were concise and to the point. Even the longer gags evolved. IE Buster's cow gag in "Go West" progressed and moved the plot along, literally through the town. (it could have been a wee bit shorter, imho). At the risk of being stoned. my humble theory is that, when sound came along, performers, Chaplin as an example, felt he had to KEEP talking.. it was sound, after all. My intro to him was a talkie, I don't even know which one, but I thought he'd never shut up. Twice in the film he jabbered on and on; I finally turned it off. His Silents are amazing. So, comparing his talkies to his Silents, those earlier films were indeed better (in my opinion). To this day I still don't watch his talkies. Looking at the film comedies of the 50's, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_comedy_films_of_the_1950s, they're pretty dialogue driven. Of the ones I've seen, Abbott and Costello aside, if one were to measure their slapstick quotient: exaggeration, physicality, make believe, violent or ritualistic aspects I'd have to say the pre-1930s films were definitely the "golden age" of slapstick. Sheer comedy quality? It's like comparing apples to oranges. Shorter, Silent comedy films w/ a predominantly instinctively, direct focus on funny vs. longer talkies with comedy interludes. As difficult as it is to make an entire film of visual gags, it's even harder to do so w/ dialogue. Charlie's banana peel vs "Heeeey, Abbbbbbottttt".... it's a toss up, for me at least. 2. Do you agree with the film's narrator that in the silent film era the "gags were completely visual—a form of wit that has all but disappeared from the land, but which experts now agree were among the most imaginative and enduring comedy of all…?” Did this form of comedy "disappear" or did it simply evolve in the sound era? Perhaps they were "completely visual" in that you don't need sound to understand and appreciate them, but one can not deny that sound enhances the film content and viewing experience. Machines such as the fotoplayer (http://laist.com/2013/12/22/this_crazy_instrument_made_the_musi.php) were in use. The organs installed in the theaters of the era (The Silent Film Society of Chicago continues to use one) also had non-musical sound effects to augment the film. So, yes, they may have been successful from a completely visual perspective, but as with other things, one must consider the quality of the experience. As far as the evolution of sound... it just picked up where the live organists left off and never looked back. That's why we have foley artists... "Foley artists match live sound effects with the action of the picture. The sound effects are laid "manually" and not cut in with film. " http://filmsound.org/terminology/foley.htm 3. What impact do you think documentaries, compilation films, and essays like these have had on popular opinion about the silent film era? Any documentary or compilation film, to be POSITIVELY worthwhile, first off, has to give you enough information about a clip so that, if your interest is piqued, you are able to track it or the performer down. Otherwise you have the equivalent of a fat, fact-laden book without an index. Useless. Documentaries have evolved over the years, as others have pointed out... some tend to pass over the origins of film as primitive or are demeaning. Those do the era a disservice. I think, if more documentaries / compilation films were made in the vein of our Web Lectures (not to sound like a brown-nose) and made available to the general public, that more people would be inclined to explore the genre. The web lectures are: 1) brief & don't over tax the time or attention span. (How much of today's society is wired.) 2) They reference names, titles, dates, matters of interest and clips of interest making it easy to pursue the interest.
  12. What impresses me about the house scene in both of these two films is that even when the action is stopped, scruitnized and rerun you realize that at no point did Keaton look down FOR that oh-so-important mark! What a pro!!! No matter how many times I'd have practiced it, you can bet I'd have been looking for it!
  13. You may be on to something there! In an earlier comment someone said slapstick works because we care about the characters... and it was Chaplin who stated that it was about the character's personality. Most of the characters, whose movies I've turned off, haven't been at ALL likeable... it was slapstick, but, IMHO, they weren't being slapped nearly as hard as they should have been! hahahahahahaha So, what else might make slapstick not work for you when it fails?
  14. Beautifully stated. I think we all have things we've outgrown over the years. My problem is that while I adore older slapstick (Charlie and Buster) and the mid-era (Stan & Ollie, Bud and Lou) and situational slapstick ("Dennis the Menace", "Lucy", tv's "Batman", Jackie Chan, "Ghostbusters") most of the modern work which they try to pass off as comedy, leaves me cold. It may be slapstick, but it falls short (pun intended) for me and is annoying at best (the "Dodgeball", "Goldmember" and "Home Alone" movies and things of that ilk) To be honest, i don't even watch them..... It might be fun to look at why they aren't funny, but then I'd have to sit through them, again, for another fifteen minutes. hahaa Nope. Not I!
  15. Totally enjoying the class ~ ALL aspects of it, but the commentary on this, the first web installment, was excellent. It's so interesting to see the complexity of the material evolve. Thank you for progressing chronologically. A small point, but one much appreciated! Slapstick in the open air! Who doesn't love THAT?!

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