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drzhen

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About drzhen

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  1. From Robert Benchley's 1937 essay, "Why We Laugh - Or Do We?" "In order to laugh at something, it is necessary (1) to know what you are laughing at, (2) to know why you are laughing, (3) to ask some people why they think you are laughing, (4) to jot down a few notes, (5) to laugh. Even then, the thing may not be cleared up for days." It's been a pleasure interacting with you, Mandroid51.
  2. The desk bit also harkens back to the "feeding machine" in Chaplin's "Modern Times".
  3. Thank you Dr. Edwards, Dr. Gehring, Vince Cellini and TCM for the films, the forums and the insights. Big thanks also to Ball State University and Canvas for not only making this class possible but for making it work. I've been fascinated with movies since I was a child, took a film class in college eons ago and am fortunate enough to know a few people who have worked in the industry so I wasn't sure I would gain many new insights into film let alone a genre I've always been especially fond of. I was wrong. This class has been incredibly informative and surprisingly comprehensive given the com
  4. I have nothing to add except this; in my opinion "Young Frankenstein" works on every conceivable level. The writing, casting, editing, music, cinematography, set design, and attention to detail make it one of the best overall films screened in this series. And Mel Brook's direction strikes the perfect tone, atmospheric yet affectionately funny. Few comedies are as well made as this one. Spoof, parody and homage are seamlessly intertwined. It's so good, it probably would have even worked on a purely comedic level in color, although the element of homage along with the effect of the pristine lig
  5. Well, as usual I'm late to the dance again and the many knowledgeable responses that precede me have pretty much covered all the bases. The clown car equivalent of all this food and all of these workers coming out of this humble cafe qualifies this as slapstick. The absurdity of the size of the order itself is treated ritualistically, as if this could be normal. The music also does much to punctuate the situation. Without it the shot of the rebels crossing the field returning to the jungle with their order would look like it came out of a documentary. It affects how we see the gag. The earne
  6. The villain in black, the hero in white, and the garish, primary colors of the announcer's clothing are all cartoon visuals. The gleam in Leslie's smile and the bluster in Professor Fate's manner tell us that these aren't real people inhabiting a real world. In fact, Lemmon gives the most over the top comedic performances given by a great actor since Cary Grant In "Arsenic and Old Lace". The moving bush, daring stunt and the inevitability of the balloon falling on Fate and his assistant all harken back to silent film. While I find films like this one and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" to
  7. The bit with the pool cues is very funny. Whether he's fracturing the English language with his dysfunctional French or embroiled in physical mayhem, Clouseau is so steadfastly earnest that it underscores the gag. This is not Jerry Lewis bumbling apologetically from one situation to another, this is a man blinded by his own sense of self importance blaming a world that does not accommodate him. Blake Edwards did more than anyone else in the sixties to revive and revere slapstick tradition in American cinema. He and Sellers created the modern equivalent of the time honored knocking-a-top-hat-o
  8. For me, the brilliant "Mon Oncle " and "The Good Humor Man" were the highlights of the evening. One subtle and thoughtful, the other outlandishly cartoonish (is that even a word?), between them they spanned the broad spectrum of slapstick film comedy in the fifties. Smack dab in the middle was the pleasant "The Long Long Trailer", one of the first successful bridges between early television and the movies. "Scared Stiff" is not one of the better Martin and Lewis vehicles. Hope and Goddard did it better. One laugh out loud highlight was Lewis doing Carmen Miranda. The Stooges film was made for
  9. There really isn't much I can add to this discussion. The combination of Lucy, Desi and Vincente Minnelli makes for a pleasant film with some fine slapstick bits and a genuinely suspenseful climax. Lucy was brilliant but Desi's mounting frustration adds much to the comedy. Minnelli's use of color is always impeccable and he does a fine job of contrasting the vastness of the countryside with the confines of the trailer.
  10. Hulot is established as kind by his interaction with the girl and his accommodation of the canary. His ascent to his apartment is ritualistic and proper. The scene itself requires a bit of patience but the careful placement of the windows in relation to the stairs make his intermittent appearances somewhat surprising and amusing. The building, like Hulot himself, is eccentric but inviting. Thank you for selecting this film. I highly recommend Tati's innocent brand of comedy to any who might be interested. There are four Hulot films written and directed by Tati and all have something to offer
  11. I find Dr Gehring's observations to be valuable and informative, and the "Breakdown Of The Gag" videos have given me a few fresh insights into bits I've seen many times throughout my life. In general, I have to say that so far, I'm really enjoying this class and the message boards. It's a joy to be communicating with so many people who are so knowledgeable and who truly love the films as much as I do.
  12. One film I'm seeing that's been largely overlooked on this thread is Danny Kaye's terrific "The Inspector General". If an analogy can be drawn between miraculous physical stunts and vocal calisthenics, Kaye has to be the vocal equivalent to Buster Keaton. He can be silly at times but when given the proper vehicle, he proved himself a multi-talented performer capable impressing and amusing simultaneously. I do find it interesting that Bob Hope isn't included in TCM's great overview of important and influential performers. Without Bob to pave the way with his fast talking wisecracks, performer
  13. Eddie Cantor, whose pre-code films were as risque as anything put on screen at the time.
  14. Abbott and Costello brought rapid fire, split second timing and an exaggerated (there's that definition again) verbal disconnect to their routines. Not only did childlike Lou misunderstand what sharpie Bud was talking about but Bud often was oblivious to Lou's confusion, compounding the problem to the nth degree. Their contrasting physical appearance perfectly matched their characters, and Lou Costello had a flare for taking the most outrageous pratfalls, making their successful transition from radio to film possible. Costello was a marvelous, old school physical comedian and created an endear
  15. Fields got away with with so much, one of the subversive pleasures of studying his work, and then you have Danny Kaye fantasizing about being a bureaucrat and giving the people, "The fist, the wrist and the finger" in "The Inspector General". Yes, they got away with a lot more in comedies than any other film genre.
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