Katrina

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About Katrina

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  • Birthday August 16

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  1. some of the early 30s pieces definitely showed their slapstick roots...one of the biggest thing I picked up on was the use of their real names instead of character names Dollar Dizzy and The Pip From Pittsburg are excellent examples of this idea. I think Elmer the great was the first in the ones that I watched where I noticed actual character names Laurel & Hardy were new ones on me, I'd never seen of their works. Wheeler & Woolsey's film was complete insanity but I kinda loved it I definitely noted the precode elements...it had a lot of inuendo...but what I really picked up on was the opening sequence with the girls in the bathtubs...it was like okay well that happened. The articles I read about it And movie crazy was very interesting, I completely got the "autobiographical" elements which was neat...but I wondered about him being called the worst actor by the studio head...I kept wondering if that was just for laughs or if he had a bit of self deprecation. A Night at the opera had some very memorable quotes for me that I was jotting down as it was going "I don't remember packing you boys" was probably one of my favorites I really don't know why lol I also really loved the pseudo sword fight in the orchestra pit and the backdrops going up and down during the performance. Sweet Music-the band's antics were awesome! they had this great sequence where Skipp was doing foreign accents. At one point he pretended at being a detective and was talking about going to a nudist camp undercover and he says he'd be "a little bare outside" which was awesome...but the last sequence in the movie was a little chauvinist for me. Normally those things don't bother me but for some reason it did here. Gold diggers in paris-the highlight was DEFINITELY the band
  2. 1) I think that with Abbott and Costello it was less balanced. Abbott always had the upper hand in most of the situations the duo found themselves in but the audience was typically made to feel more on costello's side. Abbott often played a huckster, signing his pal up for dangerous situations to keep himself out of them but it doesn't make him less endearing to the general audience. 2) I think he's right really. For the most part if you go see a comedy now days it's a lot of dirty jokes and things (visa vie the scary movie franchise or anything by seth macfarlane) it seems like they think they can't be funny without being crude or stupid. 3) To explain my perspective on them I have to tell a little story so please forgive the transgression. I wasn't always a classic movie fan. I mean the family watched "it's a wonderful life" every year (it's my dad's favorite movie) but I didn't really appreciate it. Fastforward to 2005, my grandpa died that summer and I wasn't dealing with it well. So Dad would tell me stories of what he was like when he was younger and one day we were at walmart and he fished a dvd out of the discount bin and showed it to me. "Africa Screams" starring Bud Abbott And Lou Costello. He told me that it was one of my grandpa's favorite movies and I decided I had to see this. I watched it over and over and was surprised at how much fun it was. It was from that movie that I learned to appreciate classic movies and, indeed, I learned to love black and white films from watching that. I wouldn't be the person I am today without Abbott & Costello so I can't be unbiased about them. I feel like their impact was huge. I think that they practically invented the modern concept spoof film, long before Mel Brooks. It's a genre that still retains popularity today and I do know there were spoofs made long before Abbott & Costello but it wasn't the same I don't feel. They made a career out of spoofing the most popular genres of the time, again in the same vein as Mel Brooks and even today we can find them hilarious, which is the real test...can a joke told over 50 years ago still be relevant & funny...and yes it can. Knowing them as I do, I can tell you they used quite a bit of physicality but the verbal banter was always the best. I particularly loved this clip showing the near silent screaming that was a trademark move for Costello.
  3. The curators notes on this one talk about the idea of a clown tradition built around the performer. I think that is completely accurate when dealing with this clip. It's his performance, his use of dialogue and sly insults that really make the clip work. And it's not just verbal either, the thing with the throwing things at his daughter and her chucking things right back is purely physical and escalates to the point where he's about to lob a heavy potted plant towards her and then we are reminded that he's about to throw that at a child, indeed he is reminded too. He's been caught up with the repetitive retaliation so much that he forgets himself. When looking at him in context with the marx brother and charley chase, charley seemed to be caught in these situations that quickly got out of hand whereas for fields it's more about small hilarious quips or vignettes. Fields seems much more natural in his environment and that makes the whole sequence feel more real. There's nothing REAL about the Marx brothers...it's complete and utter chaos.
  4. Katrina

    Breakdown of a Gag, Episode 5: Playing Games

    I was initially surprised to see several different comedians and clips in this episode as the others have been more monofocused but it was really awesome to see all three like that. And they were all wonderful, I loved the driving the wrong way from speedy and I have to agree that the Naked Gun clip sort of made my day lol I dunno why like you guys explained in the video it's a very simple gag but it works so well! I still remember him from Dracula: dead and loving it, he just had that perfect commitment to what he was doing and completely straight faced, like peter sellers often did, where he was making the rest of the world crack up but he kept it so chill on his end, it was amazing!
  5. I loved the idea of groucho as the verbal conductor of the sequence. I tried to think about that as the scene evolved and it fits so well. It's his allowing in of unnecessary people that gets the room to such a disastrously full state. A fantastic example of that is the manicurist. He has the chance at that point to go "no sorry have a nice day" and move on but where's the funny in that lol
  6. 1) you might have a point with that. I don't know when the book was written but I think that a definition like that probably came from the study of the best of the genre so why wouldn't it be based, primarily, on them.
  7. I'm not sure I agree about the pain...it's subtle but I felt like the perfume sprayer in the eye had to have been painful. I think I cringed when that happened lol
  8. 1) The best example I saw of use of environment was the part where he swings his arm back to thrown the ball at the bottles and accidentally hits a tough guy who takes a ball, throws it at lloyd who ducks and it knocks over the bottles and lloyd's girl get a doll. The set up it simple, playing a carnival game, then something goes wrong and there's the aftermath 2)real is probably an apt description I think. Most action in his pieces didn't rely on absurdity, rather it was grounded in natural progression of events so that when things do get a little wild, it seems like the most normal thing that could happen 3) the ability to keep the humor in a natural environment. Nothing about the way he moves, even the stunts, comes off as artificial and this aspect transplants well into the fabric of comedy and it's genesis.
  9. 1) The effectiveness of the gags in this piece are do, in a large part, to the complexity and absurdity of the sets 2) Chaplin took simple things and made them funny by strength of personality. With Keaton, it seems like crazy things happen to him and he tries to react to them. 3)I feel like he influenced gene wilder in the idea of trying to cope with an insane situation. Wilder often is depicted as the only sane person in an insane situation and that is very keaton.
  10. 1)To a certain extent, yes I agree. There is something universal about pantomime I think. You could show this same clip all over the world and have it completely understood. That being said, however, if you look at a screwball comedy like my man godfrey, there is value in the ability to use dialogue to really punch a comedic point. 2)I thought syd chaplin's facial expressions were what really made the gag work. In a lot of comedy sequences, it's not just the comedian who matters. Particularly in a sequence like that, you needed his reactions to really put the scene in perspective. 3) It showed how simple you can go with a set up. Essentially you had two guys and a plate. They didn't need an out of control pie throwing contest or anything of that sort, just a plate.
  11. I didn't know that but it doesn't surprise me...and you're completely right about the true performer thing. There's a very cliche saying but theater people still use it, the show must go on. Keaton is an excellent example. break an arm? the show must go on!
  12. It's funny but the performance I'm most familiar with of Chaplain's career came much later than what we are studying in this course.It's called "the great dictator" and it's really an incredible piece of film if you haven't seen it. I hadn't really experienced his "natural element" like it is in this video before. I completely agree with the fact that he seems extremely in tune with his environment. He is able to keep that awareness as he's moving and appearing seemingly out of control. That's the thing about slapstick, they have to look out of control while being carefully IN CONTROL of every single element. The notes speak to the fact that the slapstick stars had to be athletes because looking clumsy requires an extraordinary amount of control.
  13. My Dad did a film minor in college and he always used to talk about early silent comedians fitting into two main categories...the crazy man in a normal world and the normal man in a crazy world. He says that Keaton belongs squarely to the second category. And seeing these clips here I think I see what he means. I don't know that either of the two clips we saw would've been half as effective if he hadn't been "stone face" as the video dubs him. There is also a sense of a repeated gag with both of the movies..as if the falling house is his trademark...which really goes back, in my mind anyway, to commedia dell'arte and the Lazzi. A lazzi was used in much the same way that slapstick was according to the lecture notes...it broke the flow of the action in favor of a bit of comic business...but a lazzi could be dialogue or physical comedy so it isn't quite the same thing but the point is that we can look at slapstick performers as being part of a larger narrative, not just of the contributions on posterity but as descendants of what came before. If the story of Houdini giving Keaton his stage name can be taken at face value we can understand that the dangerous stunts performed in Buster Keaton's films can be taken as something he was influenced by from an early age. Houdini used the idea of danger and manipulated it and it was this ability to conquer deadly situations which made him so famous. Doubtless, Keaton saw that the element of danger gave something critical to the power of Houdini's performance and was able to adapt dangerous stunts to give his own performances as a comedic actor something unique and memorable. Of course, it's all supposition but it does make you think which is, after all, the purpose of any class
  14. I had a glitch with my email and didn't get the first daily dose...is it posted anywhere?
  15. I'm glad you brought up animation. I think that animation ascribes to that condition of making sure the audience knows it's make believe from the get go by virtue of the medium so they are able to spend less time establishing that fundamental principle. Animation definitely uses the notion of repeated gags as a means of establishing a character. To a certain extent...even the idea of physicality and athleticisim in that animated characters aren't bound by the limitations of a human body and can therefore carry a violent movement way past what is technically possible to REALLY do. As for the idea that a film HAS to have all of these characteristics to be slapstick, I worry about ascribing to absolutes..I think that, with any rule, there are always exceptions. Which begs the question how much can we rely on any given definition when there is likely to be a rulebreaker film out there that still classifies as slapstick.

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