MrZerep

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  1. The spoof style of Ferrell and McKay seem to be more violent...really over-exaggerated than Allen, Brooks or ZAZ. As I watched it it also spoofed the musical West Side Story's rumble scene. One news anchor had a switch blade. The brawl ends with the police siren and Ben Stiller yelling "Policia!" and they all scatter, just as the Jets and Sharks in WSS. It's literally anything goes. Oh, and when Ron Burgundy says "no touching of face or hair," well- I swear I saw some faces get smacked and one news anchor ablaze! The cameos make the scene interesting in that a favorite comedian/actor can really break away from any character ever performed and have fun. I think one of Will Ferrell's influences were The Three Stooges for the physical slapstick. I'm sure Mel Brooks influenced him, as well. The brawl in Ron Burgundy echoes another funny slapstick brawl, the ending in Blazing Saddles. It looks like everyone is saying thanks as well in this message. It has been wonderful to read what my fellow classmates have written and I can now view slapstick with a better appreciation for its actors, directors, writers...from a simple slip on a banana peel, to Dracula scaring Abbott and Costello, to the small screen antics of that crazy red-head ("I'm not a Maharincess, I'm a Henna-rinse-ess!") to the sophisticated humor of the 60s and 70s and today. I am hoping to see more TCM/Ball University courses in the future! In the words of another small screen comedian (who also delved in Slapstick) and I can already visualize the snipets of slapstick as she sings... I’m so glad we had this time together, Just to have a laugh, or sing a song. Seems we just got started and before you know it Comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.’ There’s a time you put aside for dreamin’, And a time for things you have to do. The time I love the best is in the evening – I can spend a moment here with you. When the time comes that I’m feelin lonely, And I’m feelin’ ohooooo – so blue, I just sit back and think of you, only, And the Happiness still comes through. That’s why I’m glad we had this time together, ‘Cause it makes me feel like I belong. Seems we just got started and before you know it Comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.’
  2. ZAZ's approach reminds me of a three ring circus- so much going on, where should I focus? The car gag...one air bag goes off and releases the gear lever and it becomes a runaway car to the point 4 air bags pop open and seems to drive itself making a right turn and no one in pursuit. The screaming voices on the soundtrack add to the visual mayhem. Later, after the anti-graffitti wall demonstration (which was priceless) Drebin looks into the microscope until he's told to use the open eye. We hear the professor explaining about fibers and yet we're watching Drebin lower the microscope lens until the lens part breaks the slide. Again, there is so much visual and audio going on and yet we know it's part of the humor that ZAZ is going to give us in 90 minutes. I would have to say they are different. Mel Brooks uses a more "traditional" set up to get to the gag. ZAZ is setting up so many things that there are gags within gags to get to the payoff. Overlapping visuals mixed with audio and it pays off. Inspector Clouseau is a tad suave, sophisticated and buffoonish. He tries to hide his bumbling by acting if what he has broken or destroyed is part of his regular routine. Frank Drebin, on the other hand reacts as if he knows something is wrong, but he acts innocent and if to say he wasn't responsible for whatever is broken or destroyed.
  3. 1. How does this scene successfully parody the old Universal Horror films of the 1930s? Be specific. The use of black and white film; the scene set in a university class with students listening to a professor lecture and the dialogue is reminiscent of the almost scientific babble used to explain things. They make or try to make sense, sort of. ​Gene Wilder is very serious in thous scene in his lecture. To prove his points he experiments with the little old man and he is serious about it. It turns into broad slapstick humor when removes the metal clamp and the old man is in pain. Also, in his discourse about re-animating a scalpel he verbally slapsticks to the point where he physically slapsticks and jabs himself in the leg, then nonchalantly crosses his uninjured leg and dismisses class. Since it is an homage to the old Universal horror films, color or not does not make a difference. Black and white film photography has the wonderful use of shadows and great angles that look eerie or mysterious. The slapsticks of yesteryear were black and white and still make us laugh. Surely the use of color would have accentuated costumes and even some make-up, but it's better in black and white. It's the story that will keep us enthralled regardless of film color.
  4. The "Breakdowns of a Gag" lessons are awesome. In 6-8 minutes we're treated to funny scenes and great comments and what to look for by Vince and the good Doctor. As they stated that people even today and in the future will laugh at Charlie Chaplin slipping on a banana peel. I guess it's human nature to see some form of humor in a slapstick situation. There is an innocence in the slapstick of the silent era to the early 60s; as the world changed in the 60s, so did our choices of how and why to laugh. No longer would silly situations be sufficient, but spoofing the past and creating outrageous and even adult oriented comedy gags. I guess the spoofs and parodies of the 70s are original forms of the what is now known as "re-imagining."
  5. After watching all the previous forms of slapstick, verbal and physical, this is probably the most cerebral example. There is something about Woody Allen that, for me at least, takes a while to warm up to. The slapstick is there in the choosing of the short stick wherein the leader of the rebels hands it to Allen. The restaurant owner doesn't really get outraged with the food order as he writes down what may be his biggest take out order to date! Parody? The exaggeration is there in homage to the great slapstick of yesteryear and Woody Allen's expression and demeanor remind me a tad of Buster Keaton's stone face. I think the spirit of Sennett's and Blake Edwards's style is there in a very subdued manner. It IS a funny scene and it's a very nice, slick and stylish form of slapstick. Had the deliverymen dropped the bags, then it would be traditional slapstick. Again, Woody's style is very cerebral, perhaps a bit ahead of it's time. You might label it as "critical thinking" slapstick.
  6. Many of us in this course have seen the Three Stooges thanks to television, whether it was on the weekends or after school. The trio used many of their gags over and over in different situations, so it was a natural to bring those gags into their 1st feature film. The sound effects add to the pain. Many do not like the antics because they are violent and look painful, but we got to know that if we attempted those gags we'd get hurt and could not go "into the next scene" unscathed. The amazing pie fight from The Great Race looks like a Three Stooges idea of heaven. And to have it in color adds to the spectacularly epic caloric violence! Everyone gets hit, except our hero, and even Miss DuBois gets it (so reminiscent of the aristocratic women in Stooges pie fights). No one is immune but deep down inside it is probably a cathartic release for the bakers and the minions of the aristocracy that want a little payback.
  7. From the moment we meet the hero with his dashing looks and the literal sparkle in his smile to the entrance of the villains in the bush...we can tell it's going to be a live action cartoon. The film itself is an homage to the great WB cartoons that involve a hero and a villain who gets paid back...Wiley E. Coyote and all his back firings. All that is missing is Muttley and his hilarious laugh when the villain's plans go wrong. I'm pretty sure it takes the best of all earlier slapstick routines and really, really exaggerated them. The villains getting smashed by the balloon; the hero easily escaping the damaged balloon. The Great Leslie is dressed in the stereotypical white outfit; the villains in black. Women go mad when they see Leslie and his handsome looks. The villains are so cartoonish that we know their evil plans may go wrong but we are going to have a laugh fest. (again, all that is missing is Muttley and his laugh!)
  8. The opening where he is telling the other inspector about the affair, Sellers is fidgeting with the stick to the point it is curved, then he takes his turn and rips the felt! Hilarious. Visual pun as, if I'm not mistaken by the billiard term, he "scratched" the table. He does it so nonchalantly and matter-of-factly. Genius! I see Clouseau as very inept, playful almost, but striving to be professional. The ineptness leads to the silly gags, but he tries to remedy the situation but it gets worse or more complicated. All done with a professional attitude the entire time. Inspector Clouseau adds a bit of class to his slapstick, due to the part he is a police inspector, a job that is to be taken seriously. In his job he inadvertently encounters situations that will test his physicalness (physical slapstick) and his explanations or discourses are silly, yet sound serious (verbal).
  9. The scene is an intimate one and the muted colors add to the intimacy, with the occasional lightning flash to add a bit of "excitement" to the lighting. Lucy's hair is not as vividly red as in full light or sunlight, but the trademark red is there. The set itself is tilted, since the trailer is stuck in the mud. That already is a set up to any slapstick gag that will ensue. The camera angles to me are medium shots. We are in a trailer that looks large on the outside but is really cramped on the inside. The dinner is sweet and you tend to forget where they are, sort of, until you really look closely at the wine's angle in the glass, the candles. More cinematic than the TV in that there is the luxury (sometimes) of a larger budget so the director and the designers can be more creative. They can film to their hearts content and later worry about editing and running time. TV had to be planned to include commercials...27 minutes to tell a story as opposed to 90 or 120 minutes. What can be said about this hilarious woman? Her other films demonstrate she could perform physical comedy as opposed to singing, even though her singing voice was cause for many a funny moment on the tele series. Minelli had an easy task as the audiences knew what trouble Lucille Ball would go through and he could suggest to Lucy what and how far her gags could go. Very few women comedians could excel at physical and verbal slapstick and Lucille Ball is/was the reigning queen of comedy.
  10. The cameo is definitely, as a previous comment mentioned, the Cracker Jack prize. Sometimes the actors that appear are a surprise to the audience; loved when Jack Benny appears and loud mouth Miss Merman makes her comment and we are treated to his wonderful "Well!." (Remember Ethel Merman's cameo in "Airplane" as the injured soldier who thought he was Merman!) I'm about to digress, but perhaps one of cinema's "greatest" cameo fest is in The Greatest Story Ever Told...some of the stars got 5-9 seconds of onscreen time. (Angela Lansbury as Pilate's Wife; John Wayne's Centurion and Ed Wynn). Cameos allow, in my opinion, dramatic stars to be themselves and have fun for a change and for comedians, to go a tad longer with exaggeration and laughs.
  11. Hulot lives in a working class neighborhood where everyone seems to know each other the dogs growl at fish! Hulot seems to be a tender soul- kind to neighbors and even birds. He is a very patient man as well. Before viewing the clip I took a good look at the exterior if the house trying to figure out how it could be source of slapstick and what a revelation! He calmly enters the building and proceeds to go to his quarters. Reminds me of a fun house where you can see people pop in and out. It's perhaps the most gentlest of the physical slapsticks we've seen. And the bit with the birds; at first I thought it was a sound effect for a squeaky window hinge and the payoff was the sun's reflection off the window and into the birdcage as if announcing a new day. It is a very clever and well thought out gag.
  12. The verbal slapstick style w/ Abbott and Costello seemed more down to earth, as two co-workers conversing matter-of-factly. The banter dealt with the job. Whereas the verbal with the Marx Bros. in the stateroom built upon the situation of allowing more and more bodies into an already small space. Lou tends to have an innocence or naiveté bout him in this film, like a child about to confront something scary and with Bud there to knock some sense into him. I'd have to agree with Gehring's comment about the the comedy routines of Bud and Lou- polished and perfected. They both exemplified physical and verbal slapstick routines. Contemporary comedies tend to be either very witty or border on the "obscene" and bodily functions. I would rather enjoy something witty, original and a salute to the slapstick artists of yesteryear. Abbott and Costello took what they learned and knew from vaudeville and other comedians and made it their own. Abbott tends to be the "mean" one and Costello the one who is usually on the painful end of the physical. I would show the "Frankenstein" film to my students as a Halloween treat and they'd cringe, yell and laugh at Costello to get away from the monsters in the laboratory scene. Some students told me that at first they really didn't care for a black and white film, but they discovered that if the story holds their interest it didn't matter if the film was b/w and the routines were funny and even funnier that what they see on TV. I think the Abbott and Costello comedies are a great way to introduce children to cinema slapstick.
  13. Breakdown of a Gag, Episode 5: Playing Games

    Harold Lloyd and Babe Ruth...hoping to make it to the stadium is an accident waiting to happen thanks to the rear screen projections. Leave it to rain to add to the comedy in Joe E. Brown's clip...great physical slapstick in the search for the baseball in the mud. I guess back in the day you played ball rain or shine. Leslie Nielsen is hilarious and that is something I would do as I have no idea how the umpire knows what to call a strike.
  14. Charley Chase didn't really have verbal slapstick in the clip, rather he talked nicely in order to get to his goal or to get rid of someone. ("Would you read this to me?" and "If you find out which lunch is Miss Todd's I'll dance with you.") ​The Marx Brothers literally use verbal slapstick as an all out verbal free for all- one volley after another. W.C. Fields is rather subdued and his verbal slapstick is gentler vs. the Marx Bros. Asking if the barkeep and customer ever boondoggled is a nice moment in the clip. Fields reminds me of the relative that almost each family has- the pompous one who brags about everything, yet has nothing. "Og Ogglivy...sounds like a bubble in the bathtub." Funny line when meeting his daughter's boyfriend. Sounds like a pleasant insult. "Vaseline this place or move the post over." Classic line in reference to him getting in between the booth and hat rack- make his entrance easier I suppose. "These clothes are pretty dry, so I'll sprinkle 'em with alcohol." Immediately thought of "How Dry I Am." Addds to bios character that spends most of his time at the local tavern. Loved Shemp as the bartender. I found it interesting he is whistling "Listen to the Mockingbird" as he opens the bar; was he telling us to listen to whatever Fields would utter and it would bring us joy? Interesting choice of music for him to whistle.
  15. As of today I have never seen A Night at the Opera and just heard of it or saw clips. This scene alone is the perfect "definition" of physical slapstick meets verbal slapstick. It exaggeratedly builds and builds til BAM! the wonderful payoff with a torrent of human bodies tumbling into the hallway.

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