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Everything posted by goingtopluto

  1. Lubitsch showed his "sly wit" as he conveyed the interpersonal relationships of each character visually. Coming from the silent era he was able to tell a story without speaking an English word. The fact that they were speaking French added to the scene. We could hear the frustration or anger in their voices which heightened the visual. The the fact that this scene could have been something tragic in a drama but took a light-hearted turn instead is something that I believe is common in Depression era musicals. I think this kind of twist touched a special cord with depression-era audiences. At that time they were seeing misfortune all around them. It must have been nice to see tragedy turn into fun
  2. I like the way I put Hitchcock used sound to tap into a fundamental human trait. When we are upset about something we tend to think of that thing and focus on it the exclusion of all else. Here Alice was preoccupied with the knife, therefore that was the word in the conversation that stood out to her.It is the word that sticks in her mind and repeats in her head We can relate as we start hearing the conversation from her POV and can empathize with tcharacter. As a side note I loved the woman that stood there and just paddled on. You can see Hitchcock's humor emerging as she says - and I'm paraphrasing here- that a knife isn't acceptable but good solid blow over the head is and that is very british way to do it. I love British humor.
  3. I also saw The Lodger on YouTube. I had never seen a Hitchcock silent movie before and I thought it was excellent. I haven't seen a lot of silent movies but many of the shots seemed very innovative. You can certainly see the German expressionist influence. It reminded me of Fritz Lang.
  4. high waist intrigued by have the superimposed image of the couple in the mirror grew larger as the boxers anxiety increased. I also like the Distortion of the piano keys. A surreal effect that matched the young boxers angst.
  5. I love the dolly shot in this clip. It helped build suspense and puts us in a character's "shoes". I felt like I was being called into the principal's office.
  6. I love the dolly shot in this clip. It helped build suspense and puts us in a character's "shoes". I felt like I was being called into the principal's office.
  7. goingtopluto

    Hitchcock top 5

    it is a very tough choice with lots of runners-ups. I kind of flip flop over time but right now my choices are: 1) Strangers on a Train 2) Psycho 3) Rear Window 4) Shadow of a Doubt 5) North by Northwest My parents used to love North by Northwest but I have to say as a kid I didn't get it. When I watched it as an adult I can understand why they liked it so much. Excellent blend of humor, Romance, and suspense.
  8. One thing I noticed in this clip that I thought demonstrates Hitchcock style is the way he holds onto a scene of terror almost like a freeze frame. The girl screaming in this clip was very similar to "Psycho" - it's a scene of a womsn doing a prolonged scream. Another instance where Hitchcock uses a prolonged close up of terror is in "North by Northwest" where Hitchcock shows a close-up of hands when Cary Grant trying to pull up Eva Marie Saint. This use close ups and ability to know just how long to hold on to them seems like a Hitchcock trademark to me.
  9. I agree with much of what is posted here. One hitchcockian device I noticed in the clip was character not being aware of a dire situation. We saw the woman's pocket had been picked- but she did not know this. It reminded me of the scene in "The Birds" when Tippi Hedren is sitting on the bench, the kids are singing the creepy little song, and the birds are gathering on the jungle gym.We see the birds Gathering but Tippi Hedren's character does not I believe the scene in the clip is in very early form of that plot devicdevice.
  10. Just finished my exam and passed the course. As mentioned by others it was a bittersweet experience. I always liked Lucille Ball, Abbott and Castillo, and Mel Brooks. However, I have to admit I was never a huge fan of slapstick per se but I enjoyed the film noir class so much I thought it would help me gain a better understanding of the genre and acquire an appreciation for it. This class certainly has done that! I met actors I had never known about befor and learned new things about old favorites. I learned to look for certain key points in slapstick and appreciate its history. I would like to thank Dr. Edwards, Vince Cellini, Dr.Gehring, and all those behind the scene for making this a wonderful course. Dr.Edwards, you certainly have a gift explaining the complexity of film in a fun and easy to understand manner. Anytime you're ready to teach another class I'll be there. If you're open for suggestions I would love to see a science fiction/ fantasy /horror class. That's just a nerd in me, I would actually take any class you teach. I would also like to thank my fellow students for all of the insightful post. It's always fun to see something with a different set of eyes. Take care all. Watch out for flying pies and falling buildings.
  11. In watching the clip I would say that ZAZ's approach to parody is to keep the gag's coming fast and furious style of the Mack Sennett's shorts. in this clip I counted 15 gags (and I may have missed a few). As mentioned in the brief summary, they would combine genres. Here we see a James Bond parody by demonstrating a shoe that is as multi purposes of a Swiss Army knife and cufflinks that shoot small darts. The scene has no direct connection to the case that they're following but is more reminiscent of Q explanations in the James Bond movie. I would say the difference between this and the Young Frankenstein clip yesterday is that "The Naked Gun" is much more exaggerated. For example Leslie Nielsen greatly over dramatizes the "Joe Friday" monotone while Gene Wilder does more of an imitation of the old Frankenstein doctors. Both methods fit well into the overall tone of each movie
  12. I believe “Young Frankenstein” is an effective parody because you can feel the love of the old classic Universal horror movies. I would even say that “Young Frankenstein” could be considered not just a parody but Frankenstein sequel because it's stays so close to the Frankenstein canon. Wilder and Brooks even went so far as to use some of the equipment from the original movie and take a risk by filming it in black and white. I would compare it to “Galaxy Quest” which stayed so close to the Star Trek canon that even the Star Trek creator's consider it a sequel to their franchise. In this clip we see a parody of the literary technique concerning the “scientific explanation” which was used to give reasons for the supernatural storyline. It seems that I recall in most of the Frankenstein movies there is some kind of an explanation usually occurring fairly early on in the moie. In this clip we see that Brooks and Wilder put a comic twist on this literary device and use the opportunity for both broad slapstick and subtle humor. I always enjoyed it because it wasn't just slapstick for slapstick’s sake, but instead it moved the storyline along as much as it did in the old classics. For example, we see that Dr. Frankenstein is so upset with his grandfather's work he stabs himself with a scalpel I don't recall any of the explanations in the old Frankenstein movies being this prolonged. However I think later movies, especially science fiction in the 1950s, move makers did start to expand the “scientific explanation”. “Them” always comes to my mind whenever I see this part of “Young Frankenstein”. In “Them” we even get to see a movie about ants. I think that might be why I like this movie so much. I don't know if it was intentional but for me it's not just a parody of Frankenstein other movies in this genre as well.
  13. I also saw the movie “The Three Stooges” in 2000 and I have to say it gave me a greater appreciation of their films. I had no idea how seriously they took their funny little movies and how hard they worked to make them appealing to their audience. I agree in the “Breakdown of a Gag” that their method of retooling the hammer gag was simply to put it in a rocket ship. However, I think the trio gave the scene much more thought than that. By the time “Have Rocket Will Travel” came out Columbia had already released their shorts to TV. As stated by many people on this board, their acts were very familiar. The trio, I believe, knew that gags like the hammer act were what people wanted and expected. From my own personal experience, I used to watch The Three Stooges in California with my roommate, her brother, and several neighbors. The guys knew the acts so well they could repeat the verbal portions and sound effects of the physical slapstick. It was always fun to watch because these grown men in their 20’s and 30’s. Which brings me back to my point, even though the gags were old people always enjoyed seeing them because no one did them better than The Three Stooges
  14. The first thing I noticed in the clip from the “Great Race” is the bright colors which was very common in cartoons from the time this movie was made. Then of course we have Tony Curtis's shimmering tooth just in case there was any doubt that he was the good guy. On the other hand Professor Fate had the twirling mustache of Dudley Do-Right’s nemesis Snidely Whiplash (or the not so twirly Boris Badenov). Dr. Fate uses a ridiculously elaborate weapon to try to stop The Great Leslie preforming his feat. It looks like something the coyote would buy to stop the roadrunner - however it doesn't say Acme on the side so we'll never know if he got it from the same company The Great Leslie shows uncommon ingenuity and foresight by bringing a parachute on the balloon, something Bugs Bunny might do. As Leslie floats safely to the ground, the evil Dr.Fate becomes the victim of his own nefarious plot. The Balloon falls on him and his sidekick even as they try to run to avoid it. Falling victim to one's own plot was a fate well known to any Warner Brothers cartoon “villains”. I think Blake Edwards did a wonderful job in capturing old-time slapstick and mirroring cartoons; especially cartoons of the time. On a side note, I have to say I am a little surprised that Blake Edwards was disappointed in the sitcoms of the time. 1964 is when shows like “Gilligan's Island” and “The Munsters” come out both of which used slapstick. “Gilligan's Island” in particular paid homage to the old-time slapstick in that the Skipper and Gilligan were often times much like Laurel and Hardy. The Castaways even made a silent movie once. If I'm ever stranded on a desert island I want to be on one where whatever I need pops up too ( that is of course with the notable exception of a boat for rescue)
  15. In the clip from “A Shot in the Dark” I particularly enjoyed the gag about the pool cue rack. I loved the way it initially started by knocking it over and then continued through as he tried to pick it up. I found the use of verbal slapstick to continue the gag inventive. Clouseau finally gives up trying to fix the rack then says, “Whoever invened that rack should have his head examined.” Sellers then continues the gag as he tries to leave the room but runs into the wall and then says, “I suggest you have your architect investigated as well.” I think this gag is a great comic paradigm spoofing some peoples lack of willingness to admit they made a mistake or were wrong. Since Clouseau is an Inspector I think it can especially apply to public officials and politicians. However, in todays information-driven society I believe it has an even broader scope. I work at a museum and I have found over the years there seems to be an increasing reluctance for some people to say the words, “I don't know” in response to a question. Perhaps I should show them this clip so they can see the comic reaction to bumbling through a made-up answer. Perhaps we laugh so hard at Inspector Clouseau because remember the times we we were clumsy are awkward. So in essence we are laughing at ourselves. We also remember to admit to our foibles. It is to Sellers credit that he is able to make these satirical comments through his character but still keep his character likeable. Leslie Nielsen had the same talent as seen in his comedies. I wonder if he was a fan of Peter Sellers.
  16. goingtopluto

    OUCH! A Salute to Slapstick -- The Films of the 1950s

    I couldn't sleep last night so I had the chance to see the "The Good Humor Man". It was a sweet and funny little movie with amazingly complicated slapstick gags especially considering, as mentioned in a reference article, that they did it all without CGI. You can can certainly see Lloyd Bacon's Keystone Cops influence and Tashlin's cartoon influence. The last part reminded me of a roadrunner and coyote cartoon - which I know now that Tashlin influenced. Jack Carson who, IMHO, is always great did a fine job of making a character that could have been silly into one that was sympathetic and believable-at least as believable as slapstick it gets. It put me in mind of the Chaplain thought that character is everything. As I watched the movie I thought to myself "This looks like a cartoon." Imagine my surprise when I read in today's lecture that the writer Tashlin also wrote for cartoons. I would have to say I agree 100% with the assessment that his movies did resemble cartoons and his cartoons resemble movies. This is s charming little movie I probably never would have seen if not for this class. The analysis in today's lecture made me enjoy it even more. It's just what I needed to cheer me up. Thanks TCM and Dr.Edwards
  17. From what I have read about “The Long Long Trailer” one of the major selling points was getting to see the stars in color, especially Lucy's red hair. As mentioned by Russell K in a previous post Vincente Minnelli made great use of contrasting background colors to show off the two main stars, especially Lucy's flaming red hair. The scene was a very sweet moment in the movie but kept the comedic tone because of the bright colors. In B&W the scene may have had an unintentional film noir look because of the low lighting from the candles and a tilting of the trailer. If I remember correctly “The Long Long Tailer” came out in the summer. It seems I had read somewhere that it was meant to be a form of advertisement for the “I Love Lucy” show acting as a sort of summer episode. It was a big gamble that turned out to be a smart move for the business savy Lucy and Desi. In 1954 only 55% of the homes in America had a TV (ref: http://www.lib.niu.edu/1993/ihy930341.html ) I wonder if anyone bought aTV to watch “I Love Lucy” after watching this movie.
  18. goingtopluto

    Breakdown of a Gag, Episode 6: The Cameo

    I agree. Although it's not a comedy I always loved the cameo in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". In the original Kevin McCarthy's character is hit by a car as he's trying to warn people. In the remake Donald Sutherland hits Donald McCarthy with his car - as McCarthy tries to warn people. It's not just paying homage it intertwines the stories
  19. goingtopluto

    Breakdown of a Gag, Episode 6: The Cameo

    I think that cameos when you may not always recognize the person right off are lots of fun. Like a conservatively dressed Huey Lewis telling Marty McFly his music is "just too darn loud" as he plays a Huey Lewis song. remember this scene Can objects be considered a cameo? I always liked the movie poster of Sylvester Stallone in "Twins" and the original equipment from "Frankenstein" in "Young Frankenstein"
  20. As mentioned in previous post Mr.Hulot seems like a kind and patient man. The house's many levels gives him a chance to show is extraordinary patience in a comic manner. The house was a great slapstick tool. The windows and the staircase reminded me of houses in Dr.Suess books.
  21. The exchange between Groucho and Chico Marx seems more playfully adversarial while the exchange between Abbott and Costello was more like my father talking to a child. That is until Costello gets in the final singer with “Does Dracula know?” I believe Castillo's ability to slip into a childlike persona from time to time and Abbott's ability to play “the father” is what made them a unique team. As mentioned earlier in this module Theatre audiences at the time were much more homogeneous therefore had to have a wider appeal. I believe that Abbott and Costello had a special talent for reaching the very young because in Castello children had a figure they could relate to closely. Comedians still use this child-like figure today as seen in such things as the movie “Elf” and the TV show “The Simpsons”. I also believe that the plots to their movies played a role in their success and served as inspiration for future comedians. In many of the roles they were “fish out of water”. They found themselves in situations with which they were not familiar and did not completely understand. In “Buck Privates” they were in the Army (a new experience many people going through at the time) and in “ Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” they were with monsters. Looking at the time frame when Abbott and Costello were at their most popular we can see it was a confusing period - a World War and postwar era. Like Abbott and Costello people found themselves in unfamilar situations. By watching Abbott and Costello people were able to identify with this team and laugh a little at themselves as they laughed at the movie. This technique of using unfamiliar situations is still used today in movies such as “Wayne's World” where amateur TV hosts are thrown into the real world of professional TV. The two points I mentioned is what I think are the influances Abbott and Costello had on slapstick comedy today. Of course I just may be looking at them through rose-colored nastalga glasses because I used to always watch them with my sister and cousins.
  22. goingtopluto

    Breakdown of a Gag, Episode 5: Playing Games

    Interesting to see different ways slapstick was used under the umbrella of baseball. I had never seen the Harold Lloyd or Joe E Brown ones before so those in particular were very interesting. I was curious as to why "Who's on First" by Abbott and Costello was not included. Is that considered something other than verbal slapstick?
  23. I have watched this scene many times but have never thought about the complexity of the staging and blocking. I was always more focused on Groucho's play by play description. Now that I'm observing both I'm very impressed with the mechanics of the scene plus how artfully verbal and visual slapstick are melded together.
  24. In comparing the three daily doozys W.C.Fields seems to have a slower version of the Marx Brothers banter. Also while the Marx Brothers seem irreverent by ignoring the rules to their situation and Chase desperate trys to change the situation Fields seems unhappily (and comically) resigned. I love the way Fields used the word boondoggling as if it was a sport like fishing. I admit I had to look boondoggling up to find out that it meant “work or activity that is wasteful but appears to have value.” ---”Ever do any Boondoggling?”
  25. I agree with many of the toughts posted here. I would only add that watching The break neck pace at which at which Grouco and Chico delivered their lines made me think they needed as much mental agility as other comedians in slapstick needed physical

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