Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose of Doozy #3: End of a Perfect Day: Buster Keaton

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Hi Everyone,


 


The third Daily Dose of Doozy will arrive in your email inboxes Wednesday morning, September 7, 2016. 


 


The theme of the first week of Doozies will focus on four clips from the Silent Film Era.


 


If you didn't receive this Daily Dose, it will be archived starting at noon Eastern time on September 7, 2016, here at the Canvas course site: https://learn.canvas...y-dose-of-doozy


 


You will need to be enrolled in the Painfully Funny course to view the archive link. 


 


Begin your discussions!


 


Thanks! 


 


Dr. Rich Edwards


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What made Keaton so great was his fearlessness. He would do anything, no matter the danger. What makes the clip in the email great is the house. Anything on the house or in the house was "gag-worthy". Even a simple chair in a room was made into a joke. Is that a railing on the front porch? Nope, it's a ladder.

 

Keaton and Chaplin differ in this same regard. Chaplin never really did anything dangerous or that he might get injured doing. Both were still majorly effective in getting laughs and we're geniuses in their own regard.

 

Buster Keaton's contribution to slapstick is pretty simple. He made super dangerous things look hilarious. House falling down around him? Funny. Almost hanging himself whole trying to reel in that piano? Funny. He can also maybe be attributed with creating the "stunt actor".

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1.     What elements (set design, costume, prop, camera placement, acting) make this gag effective as visual comedy?

 

Shot composition/framing and editing (or lack thereof) contribute greatly to making Keaton’s gags work. The way the shot is composed allows the audience to view the totality of the image.  For instance, the scene with Keaton balancing precariously on the ladder outside the house provides the audience with perspective in terms of height.  In a sense, watching Keaton is like watching an acrobat perform a dangerous stunt.  We are both thrilled and amused by Keaton’s dangerous predicaments.

 

The lack of editing in Keaton’s films remind of a comment I read from Fred Astaire.  Astaire mentioned that he wanted the camera to get a full body shot of him dancing in order for the audience to see the movement of his entire body.  Likewise, the full screen shot of Keaton and his surroundings allows the audience to see Keaton’s full body contortions in context with his environment. 

 

2.     In what ways do you sense that Keaton's comedy differs from that of Charlie Chaplin?

 

Chaplin made his physical comedy seem effortless and graceful, almost like a ballet.  Keaton’s comedy had more risk and potential danger.  As mentioned earlier, he appears to be like an acrobat performing dangerous stunts.  We are amused and thrilled at the same time.

 

3.     When you watch a scene like this with Buster Keaton, what contributions do you sense he added to the history of slapstick comedy?

 

Keaton raised the physicality of slapstick comedy to a new level.  Instead of using pies-in-the-face or a mischievous child squirting someone with a water hose, he integrated larger “props” into his comedy like falling houses and trains plummeting off a bridge that raised the life-and-death stakes of his performance and heightened the emotional investment of his audiences.

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1. This one is more complex than Chaplin's film A Dog's Life (1918), as we see a prop i.e. the piano, the setting, the main character's house that is out of place in every frame from top to bottom, the camera uses shot composition, close-ups, and placed in an unmoving position to give the audience much more depth into the sequence. It is these techniques that makes this timeless gag more effective in the finished process. 

 

2. Chaplin's comedies focused on his character causing misfortune for those around him and he is the odd person of the group, Keaton's comedy was the complete opposite in which his character receives misfortune from everyone around him and he is the only normal person in his movies whereas the other people are different and abnormal. Plus the fact that Keaton relied heavily on the use of stonework in his movies instead of simple routines that Chaplin uses in his movies.

 

3. He gave that added push of the daredevil quality of physical danger that comedians would later want to use as a model for their work and gave animation an idea of how far the sense and level of danger can go against the laws of physics. Keaton's contribution is a lasting impact on extending the stunt work in the movies as well as being a mentor to future comedians that would learn about using gags and the physicality of that extended push.

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Based on what I have seen so far of Keaton and Chaplin, I would say that their comedy differs in their personalities and in their comic situations. Keaton's stone face reflects his ability to shrug off misfortunes and persist unfazed in the face of daunting circumstances. Chaplin shows much more emotion and projects an underdog image. It seems Keaton's comic situations are more exaggerated and unreal than Chaplin's, an example being the crazy house he is building in "End of a Perfect Day," versus the more plausible situation in which Chaplin and his dog steal cakes and link sausages. While both execute comic pratfalls with great timing and athletic ability, it seems that Keaton's physical humor risks severe injury to himself, whereas Chaplin's does not.

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One thing I noticed about Buster Keaton is you think you know how a gag is going to go and in the last second is turns out totally different. I think the suprise is what helps make it even funnier. What an elaborate imagination Keaton had!

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For me, the contrast between the crazy set design and the seriousness and determination in Keaton's expressions heightens the visual gag in the clip.

 

As I watch Keaton's clip, I can't help but marvel how he survives these stunts, something that never crosses my mind while watching Chaplin. With Chaplin, he makes the ordinary a constant source of amusement, while Keaton is definitely extraordinary to me.

 

Keaton brings a heightened sense of surreality. I agree with others here, that Keaton has raised the stakes with his brand of slapstick.

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Everything is meticulously planned in this gag, which in my eyes seems very complex for 1920, dictated by the ingenuity of the great Buster Keaton. The location, the structure of the house, the reactions and physique of the actors (the big man initially carrying the piano compared to the much smaller Keaton), everything is perfectly set for the proper execution of the gag. The rest is Keaton himself, putting once more his personal health at stake to provide us with a good laugh.

 

Comparing Keaton and Chaplin is one of the most intriguing issues in the history of comedy. I think Keaton's comedy is based more on physical gags, dangerous stunts and exaggeration, while Chaplin used fast pace and face expressions (Keaton was always stone-faced) to produce laughs. As time passed, however, Chaplin's comedy became much more complex and sophisticated, and he was able to combine hilarious jokes with drama, romance and direct social commentary. He was much more than just a great comedian, and that contributed to his flourishing in the sound era as well, when Keaton practically disappeared.

 

That doesn't mean that Keaton didn't offer much to slapstic comedy, however. In fact, he maybe was even a bigger contributor than Chaplin, because he was perhaps the first to find out how a slapstick gag should be structured, planned and executed. Keaton, as well as Chaplin, entered slapstick when it was just a bunch of simple, unsophisticated jokes and transformed it into a mature, well-organized, professional form of comedy which continues to make people laugh.

 

 

 

 

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One difference between Keaton and Chaplin highlighted in this clip is that there is more of a suspension of disbelief or violations of the laws of physics with Buster than Chaplin.

 

The stretching ceiling in this clip as well as the Flying Buster scene in Steam Boat Bill, Jr are as unrealistic as they are funny.

 

Because the rest of the cyclone sequence in Steamboat Bill Jr takes place after the falling facade gag often overlooked is what I call the Flying Buster gag.  It doesn't detract at all in my opinion, that the tree he's riding is swinging back and forth as though it's swinging from a cable.

 

 

Contrast that with how Chaplin lives within the environment in the shipboard dining sequence in The Immigrant

 

 

The ship is rocking and funny things are happening but it's all realistic or at least arguably more realistic than Buster's cyclone sequence.

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Keaton "frames" his shots-he ecloses the viewer,where as Chaplin expands the shot to encompass a whole street with life going on as usual around Chaplin as he preforms.

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The set is a combination of both odd and reasonably normal. The house is crazy in it's outward appearance but the inside is simple and could be anywhere. The outside is part of the sight gag in static form where the inside is normal until it is acted upon by Keaton. As mentioned in an earlier post, everything in the scene is fair game in becoming part of the gag as in using the porch railing as a ladder.

 

Keaton's acrobatics are amazing even in their most simplistic form such as free climbing the bar to tie the rope to the chandelier as well as balancing the ladder so he can effortlessly climb both sides.

 

Both of these things tie into differences I see between Chaplin and Keaton. Surely the elegant grace of Chaplin vs the grandeur and level of danger with Keaton are the first that come to mind but it also in the manner in which they see the world. Chaplin is the outsider making the best of trying to fit into a challenging world. He sees and reacts to danger and his unfortunate circumstances. Keaton is the every man, trying to do what he sees as normal every day things by employing what he believes to be logical ordinary solutions. He does not really see danger or misfortune and takes everything in stride and simply keeps moving on undeterred in his mission.

 

This image that he believes he is just a regular guy doing his best in ordinary life tasks is where Keaton influences so many to follow as with the Stooges. They are far more zany and simplistic however their brilliance is rooted in their acting as if everything they are doing is normal. I believe another big influence is in the scale and danger of the gags as Keaton sets the bar very high. Surely, he started a whole industry in stunt work as future acts tried to compete or top what came before them. Hats off to a brilliant comic, acrobat, designer and stunt choreographer.

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DD #3 'END OF A PERFECT DAY': Buster Keaton

 

1) What elements (set design, costume, props, camera placement, acting) make this gag effective as visual comedy?

 

     Props...like yesterdays clip, props play a pivotal part in this answer. The "piano" which was delivered roughly to Keaton is the key element to this scene. And the rope and the ceiling which are the last pieces of the comedy puzzle which are used to try and get the piano into the house and 'set up' to drag the piano in but the ceiling doesn't want to cooperate with Keaton.

       

 

2) In what ways do you sense that Keaton's comedy differs from that of Charlie Chaplin? 

 

       I my opinion I see Buster Keaton as the 'everyday man'. The kind of guy that tries very hard to make things come together simply and without complications. Like with "One Week" he's desperate for his new house to be perfect for his bride but everything seems to go wrong. As to Charlie Chaplin he's the 'down on his luck' guy who just can't get cut a break. Unemployed (and possibly homeless) he always hungry and finding ways to get food. Or seeing a woman who he thinks is way beyond him (money wise & breeding) and tries hard to impress her which usually has mishaps following them. But when you look at both the common ground that they both seem to have is desperation...either in setting up a home or wanting something to eat, each are desperately trying to achieve the 'success' of coming out on top.

 

3) When you watch a scene like this with Buster Keaton, what contributions do you sense he added to the History of Slapstick Comedy? Artistry...not just in Buster but with Chaplin & the others too. Whether you see that Keaton is more calculating in his 'stunts' than Chaplin or Lloyd performs more graceful than Keaton & Chaplin...they all have Artistry in common. One particular performer may seem more graceful and another maybe more thoughtful in wanting the audience to be sympathetic towards them. Or the performer throwing himself around (stunt wise) in a scene to make the crowds go wild with anticipation from scene to scene. They all show us how effortlessly they defy gravity when doing these stunts. We are amazed when watching them and wonder how one could survive these stunts.

 

Like dancers in a dance the performers float through the scenes and finish with flourish to the sounds of thundering applause from us their admirers 

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Everything is meticulously planned in this gag, which in my eyes seems very complex for 1920, dictated by the ingenuity of the great Buster Keaton. The location, the structure of the house, the reactions and physique of the actors (the big man initially carrying the piano compared to the much smaller Keaton), everything is perfectly set for the proper execution of the gag. The rest is Keaton himself, putting once more his personal health at stake to provide us with a good laugh.

 

Comparing Keaton and Chaplin is one of the most intriguing issues in the history of comedy. I think Keaton's comedy is based more on physical gags, dangerous stunts and exaggeration, while Chaplin used fast pace and face expressions (Keaton was always stone-faced) to produce laughs. As time passed, however, Chaplin's comedy became much more complex and sophisticated, and he was able to combine hilarious jokes with drama, romance and direct social commentary. He was much more than just a great comedian, and that contributed to his flourishing in the sound era as well, when Keaton practically disappeared.

 

That doesn't mean that Keaton didn't offer much to slapstic comedy, however. In fact, he maybe was even a bigger contributor than Chaplin, because he was perhaps the first to find out how a slapstick gag should be structured, planned and executed. Keaton, as well as Chaplin, entered slapstick when it was just a bunch of simple, unsophisticated jokes and transformed it into a mature, well-organized, professional form of comedy which continues to make people laugh.

 

Part of Keaton's disappearance wasn't his fault - film control was taken out of his hands and put into the hands of producers and directors. Of course, his personal decisions (drinking) contributed to his career downfall as well. The drinking was a product of his personal life falling apart and Keaton's own perception that his sound films were of lesser quality. Interesting that his sound films were big box office, but because of his behavior, MGM let him go. Too bad. I've always wondered what sound Keaton in control pictures would have been.

Keaton's career did outlast Chaplin's as he was all over television, Beach Blanket films and commercials and his comeback in the 1950's was very rewarding for him.

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1. Props are everything in this scene: the crazy house, the stretchable ceiling, the ladder with rungs that collapse, the prop piano, etc. I don't know if any comic actor before Keaton made as elaborate use of props as he did. Houses, trains, boats, elaborate gadgets--props are everywhere in Keaton films. But it's not just the use of props but the elaborate and carefully arrange stuntwork using them that matters. Keaton always had to be exactly in the right place at the right time on the set for many of the prop jokes to work and be survivable. Much more planning had to go into pulling this off than anything Chaplin was doing.

2. See above. Keaton is much more about building his gags around the props and what happens with them than Chaplin. Chaplin's comedy seems to be more about ordinary situations made funny and Keaton's comedy is more about all the things that can happen and especially go wrong when you are dealing with devices, machines and flimsy or misconstructed buildings.

3. Keaton adds two things to comedy history for me: gags that often depended on the elaborate use of carefully designed and constructed props and the comedy that could be created around extremely dangerous situations. The Sennett comedies had risky things like trains hitting cars or a trolley just missing a car full of Keystone Kops but these were simple compared to Keaton's much more elaborate dangerous situations like buildings falling on him or bridges collapsing under a locomotive, all with Keaton maintaining his deadpan expression no matter what happened. I suspect the original audiences often not only laughed at Keaton but also gasped on occasion.

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1. What elements (set design, costume, prop, camera placement, acting) make this gag effective as visual comedy?

 

The single most effective element in making this scene amusing is Keaton's deadpan delivery, by which he seems to accept as normal his lot in dealing with the delivery of a piano by a man carrying such a heavy instrument on his shoulder, who drops the piano on Keaton twice, knocking him flat (his one, poor arm weakly waving at the delivery man to alert him to the fact that Keaton is trapped under the piano is an understatement of desperation). Keaton, unharmed, then seems to shrug off the fact that he has to cut a narrow hole in the house through which to haul the piano using a rope levered on a slim chandelier. When the ceiling predictably collapses under an unfortunate paper hanger who becomes trapped when his head launches through the roof, Keaton decides to rescue him with a crow bar angled under the poor guy's head! We think Keaton is ridiculous, the paper hanger must think he is out of his mind, so when Keaton's bride scolds him for being a nitwit, the audience thinks this dressing down is just not enough for his mundane stupidity. 

 

Of course the weird design of the house with no front door, the construction of the ceiling to make it into a trampoline, and the light weight, empty, plywood piano aid greatly in making the multiple, fast moving gags effective.

 

I think I would have to know more about what normal work clothes and household chore clothes would have been around 1920 to comment on the effectiveness of the costumes. They certainly don't detract from our understanding of the scene.

 

2. In what ways do you sense that Keaton's comedy differs from that of Charlie Chaplin?

 

Keaton's slapstick differs from Chaplin's in the basic nature of the two actors' characters. Chaplin is a sweet natured, poverty-stricken tramp who plots to avoid arrest for petty theft and vagrancy all day long just to meet his basic need for shelter and food. His little tramp evokes pathos.

 

Keaton's matter of fact, unemotional acceptance of the ridiculous situation in which he finds himself creates the humor in his short film. Accepting the cruelty of the piano mover in dropping the piano on him more than once, accepting the fact that he has to haul the piano into his badly constructed house by himself, accepting the fact that he has to free the paper hanger from the roof after he collapses the ceiling, and accepting his wife's fury are all funny incidents which Keaton accepts with the exact same demeanor. Keaton's attitude is that these events are just something he has to put up with everyday, just like anyone else. The difference between the common sense with which the audience approaches daily living and the lack thereof as demonstrated by Keaton's approach is jarring and funny.

 


We also have to recognize the clear situation Keaton reveals to the audience. We know exactly what is happening, whereas with Chaplin, things aren't always so straightforward.

 


 

3. When you watch a scene like this with Buster Keaton, what contributions do you sense he added to the history of slapstick comedy?

 

Chaplin does a lot with very simple, if somewhat ambiguous settings. Keaton's carefully constructed set enabled him to achieve the physical comedy effects he desired and certainly allowed early filmmakers to create elaborate stunts which worked. We have to admire his technical expertise all done without computer generation to make his gags successful.

 

 

 

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1.     What elements (set design, costume, prop, camera placement, acting) make this gag effective as visual comedy?

 

The piano seemingly real and heavy when being carried by the big burly deliveryman worked well as a devise to overwhelm the smaller framed Keaton.  The flexible ceiling being stretched and pulled in ways you would normally only see in a cartoon made for a surprising visual effect.  The set design of the house also worked well having the porch railing double as a ladder.  These elements were certainly unrealistic but the way they were used made them visually hilarious.

 

2.     In what ways do you sense that Keaton's comedy differs from that of Charlie Chaplin?

 

 Keaton’s characters are physically demanding and by his incredible athletic ability and acting skills, he makes his falls and misfortunes look smooth and effortless.  Buster Keaton’s stone faced character is more of an “every man” who encounters unusually difficult situations and the action revolves around his attempts to abide or just survive.  Chaplin’s character is not so much physical but more of being one slick, clever little tramp using his street smarts to get through the various situations he finds himself in.    

 

 

3.     When you watch a scene like this with Buster Keaton, what contributions do you sense he added to the history of slapstick comedy?

 

Buster Keaton’s ability to conceive an idea and translate it into visual art for the camera and his intended audience is unsurpassed.  His genius of planning and laying out the logistics of each scene and calculating his own physical abilities to survive the punishment scripted in the various situations will be his greatest contribution to the history of film.

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I think that this gag is very complex for the 1920's but I think the set design was very effective when Stoneface used the rope to hoist the piano.  The second floor buckled and acted as a slingshot and shot the man through the roof. This gag was pulled off beautifully Which makes this gag very effective in visual comedy. Keaton's comedy. I feel is more laborious and physical While Chaplin is more laid back and relies on not so stressful comedy.Watching this clip makes me think that Keaton really was one of the greats in slapsick comedy and he contributed physical gags to the roster of visual comedy.

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1. The set design is effective as the house itself becomes a prop.

2. Chaplin's comedy is based on ordinary situations and small, intricate movements.  Keaton uses absurd situations with big gestures.  Timing is critical to both comedians.

3. Keaton expanded the definition of a movie prop and broaden what situations could be lampooned.

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I am "new" to silent slapstick - I've watched a bit here & there but haven't really enjoyed it. I liked/enjoyed today's Dose. Buster Keaton appears to be acted upon - the victim. I think this is different from Chaplin & promotes slapstick to those who are uncomfortable with the more "violent" scenes in slapstick comedy. The story moves more quickly also - less repetition.

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Part of Keaton's disappearance wasn't his fault - film control was taken out of his hands and put into the hands of producers and directors. Of course, his personal decisions (drinking) contributed to his career downfall as well. The drinking was a product of his personal life falling apart and Keaton's own perception that his sound films were of lesser quality. Interesting that his sound films were big box office, but because of his behavior, MGM let him go. Too bad. I've always wondered what sound Keaton in control pictures would have been.

Keaton's career did outlast Chaplin's as he was all over television, Beach Blanket films and commercials and his comeback in the 1950's was very rewarding for him.

 

I'm also very curious about how Keaton sound films would have been had he not experienced all these professional and personal issues in the 1930's. We'll never find out, however. Keaton tried many times to revive his career in the sound era with interesting results but, unlike Chaplin, who made masterpieces during both the silent and the sound era, Keaton's success in silent films was never matched after 1929. Unlike other actors that faded with the advent of sound, in Keaton's case it wasn't that he couldn't cope with it, but some bad desicions along with circumstances probably out of his control cost him.

 

When it comes to Chaplin and Keaton, I always remember this scene from Chaplin's Limelight. An interesting question, in my opinion, is whether they could do something big together when they were at their peak. We'll never find an answer in this one, too.

 

 

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2. In what ways do you sense that Keaton's comedy differs from that of Charlie Chaplin?

 

This may sound odd, but I think that Keaton’s comedy differs from Chaplin’s comedy in much the same way that Gene Kelly’s dancing differs from Fred Astaire’s dancing.  Astaire and Kelly both were graceful and athletic, but, somehow, Astaire seemed to be gracefully athletic while Kelly was athletically graceful.  Kelly seemed to be working at it more, I guess.  While Astaire seemed more to be going with the flow.  I see Chaplin’s screen personality as being more “Astaire like”.  His character takes things as they come.  Often bending, but never breaking.  Always in tune with his environment, you could say.  Keaton’s screen personality, on the other hand, seems always to be struggling with something; and while he too usually prevails, it seems that he has to work much harder at it.

 

Does that make sense?  I’m having a bit of an issue putting this into words.

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...the bathroom scene and the fourth wall.

Before I answer my view of today's topic, I wanted to mention this as well. I watched this movie on archive.org after seeing the last episode of "Breakdown of a Gag," and thought it was pretty funny how they did include the fourth wall in the bath scene. Was this the first time the fourth wall was included? Were there other early movies that broke from the movie and did a fourth wall gag? The only later movie I can think of right now is Blazing Saddles.

 

1. What elements (set design, costume, prop, camera placement, acting) make this gag effective as visual comedy?

 

Immediately, the prop that first comes to mind is the delivery guy bringing the piano and carrying it like its a sack of potatoes. I can understand that he's supposed to be strong, but as we see a few scenes later, the piano is supposed to be heavy. It made it a little unbelievable that the delivery man could carry a heavy piano in that style. Then dropping the piano on Buster? I understand slapstick needs some physicality and a pinch of violence to make it funny, but the way it was done seems like the next scene should have had Buster in a cast or something? Another prop would be the "ladder" that Buster brings out to meet the delivery man. It doesn't even last the first step. Although creatively later, using the porch rail as a ladder was very amusing. I also found the scene with the man in the middle of the room above where the piano was being brought into the house was great.

 

2. In what ways do you sense that Keaton's comedy differs from that of Charlie Chaplin?

 

It seems as thought Keaton's comedy is way more physical than Chaplin. Chaplin tries to be the sneaky innocent comedian, as in yesterday's clip from "A Dog's Life." Keaton's comedy is more setup and action. Falling from the second story of the house in "One Week," having a house facade fall at the right moment in "Steamboat Bill, Jr." Keaton's comedy makes Chaplin almost seem like a mime type performance.

 

3. When you watch a scene like this with Buster Keaton, what contributions do you sense he added to the history of slapstick comedy?

 

He adds that you can get just a big of a laugh with physical comedy than the traditional tell a joke and get a laugh. We see this type of comedy in (again, I sound like a broken record) Mel Brooks movies, the Naked Gun series, the Three Stooges, and others.

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What elements (set design, costume, prop, camera placement, acting) make this gag effective as visual comedy?

 

I think the way that the piano was used, and that the house itself became a character. It's like everything in the house was apart of the action. You believe that Keaton was trying to do everything he can to have control of that piano. That's pretty hard to do, but Keaton did it so expertly.

 

In what ways do you sense that Keaton's comedy differs from that of Charlie Chaplin?

 

Although both Keaton and Charlie remain legendary pioneers of film comedy, Keaton's comedy was more risky and challenging, meaning that he would put himself in some very dangerous situations, whereas Chaplin's was more delicate and relied more on social realism and commentary. No matter what differences there were between them, they both made moviegoers laugh.

 

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 contributed that extra sense of danger and physicality that reminded you that the simplest of things can be of greater importance than they really seemed to be. He created the perfect template of pushing yourself to the limit, and showed that even a daredevil like him isn't invincible. That gave his comedy more realism.

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The introduction of a man, no matter how huge, carrying a piano on one shoulder, sets the scene for exaggeration. The conveniently removable, hidden entry through the side of the house, the trampoline ceiling and its inadvertent success at propelling Buster's rival through the roof followed by the master shot of the Picasso nightmare of a house, all invite laughter and surprise. No matter that Buster nearly hangs himself getting tangled in the rope, his physical prowess has already been established by the fact that he wasn't crushed by the piano. Using the porch fence as a ladder, the skillful business of pivoting on the ladder and finally, after dropping the piano through the floor, Keaton's acceptance of all of this, accentuated by him matter-of-factly placing the sheet music on the damaged piano in his destroyed living room, enhances the comedy.

Keaton tackled a challenging situation head on with dogged determination, Chaplin through the sheer force of his personality. Chaplin relied on wiley charm where Keaton was more methodical. There were, of course, overlapping similarities in the approach both men used, but where Chaplin was surprisingly facile, intimate and endearing, Keaton's character was clever and his situations almost other-worldly, at least in the shorts. Keaton's upped the ante by devising larger than life gags integrated with amazing stunts.

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