sunny2155

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  1. One unique Hitchcock trait I noticed in this film as well as The Pleasure Garden was how dark the background was in both pictures. Emphasis was also put on the faces and facial expressions of the characters with camera closeups. The dead woman was blonde again but we don't see what she looks like. In this film, there isn't any written dialogue but the character's faces along with the typewritten news piece tells the story. Interesting film.
  2. 1. The only similarity I can see between W.C. Fields and Charley Chase is that they both wear suits. The similarities I can see between Fields and the Marx Brothers is the use of one-liners, malapropisms and a funny accent. However, the delivery is completely different. The Marx Brothers are wild and use a rapid-fire style and W.C. Fields is slow and methodical in his delivery. The Marx Brothers are also easier to understand than Fields is. You have to listen closely to W.C. Fields because of the accent he uses and the way he mumbles. 2. I’ve watched the movie “The Bank Dick” many times and really enjoyed watching this clip. W.C. Fields is delightful as the scoundrel who insults people and drinks too much. The characteristics of verbal slapstick I noticed were the use of malapropisms, one-liners, and puns.
  3. 1. I think Dale’s definition fits the verbal slapstick of the Marx Brothers perfectly. In this particular clip, it seems to me that Groucho and Chico use almost, if not all, of the characteristics of verbal slapstick listed by Dale. The Marx Brothers were masters at verbal and physical slapstick. In this clip, their back and forth is so quick and so well done that you have to pay close attention to catch all of the elements of verbal slapstick that Dale describes. 2. The characteristics I could make out the clearest were the way they turn each other’s words around, use one-liners, puns, slang, mispronunciations, foreign accents. 3 I think all five of the visual slapstick comedy elements are present.
  4. 1. Chase uses facial expressions as part of his slapstick humor. He doesn’t do them in a flashy way, but he uses them extensively throughout the clip. The second element is repetition which Chase uses with both his physical humor and as a recurring theme throughout the film. The main story revolves around his repetitious attempt to make sure he looks and smells good. The third element that I could see present was make believe. This is evident when he sees his face in the jacket of the man standing in front of him. 2. I think it challenges Mast’s description. In the clip, Chase appears to be someone who is self-absorbed rather than someone who is fastidious. He doesn't seem to be the least bit picky about the looks and habits of other people or in his surroundings. Also, he doesn’t seem to display any one dominant emotion in the clip. He portrays several including nervous, embarrassed, happy, vain, and irritated. 3. I think they did a very good job of synchronizing the music and sound. The music, while playing continuously, wasn’t overbearing so it was still possible to hear the sounds that were created specifically for the gags.
  5. 1.In all three of the gags performed in “Speedy” Lloyd uses a combination of the Coney Island amusement rides and games, the food, and the crowds. During the first gag, the people are having such a good time on the carnival ride that they don’t notice that he has a crab in his pocket until they get pinched. In the second gag, we watch the couple eat so much food that when we see the young man from behind with the girl patting him on the back, we assume he is getting sick. Once he turns around, we realize that he is blowing into the “test your lung” tube. The third gag is setup and executed very quickly. He “winds up” to throw the ball at the bottles, consequently hitting a man eating an ice cream cone whose reaction knocks bottles down. 2. I think that Lloyd’s style of comedy is definitely more realistic and also more sophisticated than Chaplin’s or Keaton’s style. The situations portrayed in Lloyd’s comedy tell a more complete story rather than just being short skits designed primarily for the setup and execution of the gag. 3. I believe that Lloyd added a more realistic quality and a more sophisticated style. Lloyd’s comedy allows the viewer to laugh not only at the gag, but at life and at human traits. I think this style of comedy laid the groundwork for the more full feature comedy films that followed.
  6. 1. I think the set design, props, camera placement and acting are what make this gag effective. The set design provides the foundation for the gag. The props and the acting set up the gag and move it along to its conclusion. The placement of the camera and the angles that are used not only allow the viewer to get the complete picture of the visual comedy from beginning to end, it also adds to the joke by providing the visual timing. 2. I think Keaton’s comedy relies more on physical comedy and the use of props whereas Chaplin’s comedy relies more on costumes and the use of facial expressions. 3. I think Keaton took visual comedy a step further by adding the use of props and more physical slapstick. This type of comedy seems to be what has been more predominant in the use of visual comedy as it has continued throughout the years.
  7. 1. I agree with Canby. It seems like the comedies today lack originality, timing and the use of facial expressions by the actors. With all of the comedies that are made, very few of them can stand the test of time the way a classic film like "A Dog's Life" can. 2. I think the acting stands out in "A Dog’s Life". Chaplin’s comedic timing and facial expressions along with the cook’s quick movements make this movie hilarious. 3.I think the spontaneity of the gag in this film has made a major contribution in the use of adlibbing done by comedic actors.
  8. 1. I can see where this era would be considered the Golden Age of comedy because the unique ideas, experimentation and implementation of those ideas created films that became the foundation for slapstick comedy in movies from that period onward. 2. I do think the gags were visual, but in silent films, it was the images that were used to convey messages to the viewer. This is true in dramatic silent films as well. Even though the technology improved, elements of these gags can still be seen in films. Unfortunately, in today’s movies, comedy relies so much on gross-out humor that I believe these gags have to a certain extent disappeared. There are a few films out there that attempt to use the old silent movie gags, but they seem to be few and far between. 3. I think that documentaries, compilation films and essays have brought these films to the attention of generations that grew up after the silent films were made. The films are being watched and read about and dialogues are taking place that make people have a better understanding about how unique and significant these films were, and the amount of influence they have had on comedy films.
  9. sunny2155

    What is Slapstick? A Discussion of Definitions

    The only definition that I'm having a difficult time with is #3. Slapstick is ritualistic. Webster's definition of ritual is, "any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner." While I understand that there are certain elements that go together in order to form a slapstick gag, the term ritualistic seems to imply that there can't be any variance in the way a slapstick gag is set up. Maybe the word structure or commonality would fit better. The comedian structures the gag a certain way to get the results he or she wants, but it leaves the door open for change. If Moe slaps Larry and Curly, the term ritualistic implies that he has to do it exactly the same way each and every time. But, if he slapped them from the left to the right instead of from the right to the left, would the success of the gag suffer? While “Many slapstick gags appear more than once in a film, and organize, or, at a minimum, affect our understanding of a character's personality, or situation, or worldview.” I can’t help but think of Groucho Marx. His one-liners weren’t the only gimmick he used to define his personality. Neither were the movement of his eyebrows. Would it have been any less definitive had he only done one of them? Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the meaning here, but to me, slapstick isn’t ritualistic, it’s planned.
  10. I thought it was so interesting to watch this film and see what inspired so many filmmakers to use slapstick in their movies. When slapstick is done well, and for me that means when it catches me completely by surprise, it is absolutely hilarious. I'm really looking forward to watching more classic movies that showcase slapstick.

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