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Posts posted by Logano26

  1. 1. The reality of a robbery is very terrifying, but considering they are stealing wheelbarrows of cole slaw and 390 tuna fish sandwiches, the effect is both parody and slapstick, because the situation is outside the realm of reality. Today, it's hard to divorce Woody from his terrible deeds in the real word, but the man was a master of mixing high and low comedy.

    2. Bananas' music, situation and antics all feel much more in line with the Sennett studio style than The Great Race, because the plots aren't the silly aspect, the reaction to those plots are the comedic engine.

  2. 1. This wasn't a cartoon? If this movie isn't the inspiration for "Whacky Racers," I don't know what is. The colors, the antics, the oversized arrow, all of it were lifted right out of the cartoon world "hammer space" to create a whackier than reality world. And the cool confidence of Tony Curtis has the same spirit of Bugs Bunny as he foils another dastardly Daffy Duck plot. If only he had a carrot and a snappy one-liner, I'd believe it was Bugs in the flesh.

    2. The stunt feels very much like an updated Buster Keaton gag. The straight jacket, the peril of the balloon, it all seems like something Old Stoneface would have attempted if he were born a few decades later.

    3. It's as simple as black and white -- Leslie clad in all white and then draped with a white straight jacket and tied to the balloon with a white rope, while the Snidely Whiplash-style Professor Fate in all black and a devious little black mustache to boot.

    • Like 1
  3. "A rit of fealous jage!" Inspector Clouseau is educated beyond his intelligence. He has the words, floating around in his brain, but getting them out in the correct sequence is beyond him. Just as he's able to play billiards, but not without the calamity of a bent pool cue destroying the felt.

    Clouseau isn't the smash-and-grab idiocy of the Keystone Kops, he's a subtler form of idiot. More refined and able to mingle with the high class, Clouseau almost fits into their world, until he talks for too long or tries to do essentially anything (like stack pool cues).

  4. 1. The color brings this world to life, especially when Lucy's red hair and pink pajamas are soaked in gallons of brown mud. 

    2. The dutch angles sell the tilted trailer gag that would have never played on TV. Plus, shot-reverse shots, inserts, and POV reveals weren't really possible with a three camera setup and a live audience. This gave Minnelli fertile ground to play with that you couldn't do with the old, almost-all dialogue comedies of early TV.

    3. "I Love Lucy" is a slapstick goldmine that farmed every day life for madcap schemes and zany antics (I'd suggest you watch the candy conveyor belt scene, but by now, every person on earth has seen it). The simple gag of taping a champagne glass to the table is effective and funny as is Lucy trying to hop into a tilted bed only to be rolled right onto the floor.

    • Like 1
  5. Hulot plods along with a graceless stride that matches his rumpled hat and trench coat. He's the clown of this absurd world as he clearly sticks out in a crowd. The building adds to the absurdity with the sheer complicatedness of windows, stairs and doorways that makes entering and leaving an all-day chore. It's like one of those jokes that is kind of funny the first time it's told, then annoying on the second telling, but by the fifth time you've heard it, you'll be rolling on the floor.

    • Like 1
  6. Charley Chase can't catch a break, and he mugs every time the world betrays him as if to say to the audience, "Do ya see what I gotta put up with?" That nod to the viewer can be universally appreciated by everyone in their daily struggles. The perfume machine in this clip exemplifies slapstick as it seems to have a mind of its own, and that brain has a singular mission: screw up Charley's chances.

  7. What's missing in today's comedies is the visual element entirely. Name one American comedian who is as graceful and skilled as Chaplin and could pull off that invisible fly fake-out while snagging a cake around the back. That was ballet, and Chaplin's brother was a masterful dance partner. The exaggerated movements, the cook's closeup looks at the ever-emptying plate, the jaw-grinding chews as Chaplin almost swallows each whole, all of these are precisely executed dance moves that further the story and hit the hilarious beats.


    The lunch cart filled with items gives the cook plenty of business and distraction to expand the gag. There's enough going on in the scene that you don't need any fancy camerawork or editing to heighten or distract from that. Just allow the gag to play.


    This contributes to the history of slapstick, because it's a perfect example of allowing a gag the time to breathe to hit every possible funny note. And, quite frankly, it's still funny, while some of the silent era comedy has either been lost in translation, been repeated ad nauseam to the point that the jokes have gotten tired and old, or the gags seem juvenile by today's standard. This bit works on all fronts, so it's a great illustration to get a new audience to enjoy silent comedy.

    • Like 4
  8. By putting finite, overarching terms on a period of comedy, or really any artistic expression, such as "the GREATEST era," a critic paints himself and the entire medium into a corner from which is difficult to escape. No comedic era is the GREATEST era, because comedy changes greatly, maybe more than most art forms, to suit the tastes of the time. I'll agree that they don't make them like they used to, sure, because we're in a time of improvised dialogue comedy that tends to be mostly vulgar, but there is still a lot of physical slapstick in those movies. Judd Apatow and his disciples have ushered in a lazy form of humor that feels both committed to the joke, but also outside looking in and commenting on the zaniness as to have their cake and eat it too. They are also prone to the five-take joke, where instead of using the best zinger or insult, they use five options. It's boring and gratuitous, and unfortunately popular. But that's also merely what is the trend right now. Give it a few years, a new era of comedy will see itself in, slip on a banana peel, and make us all laugh again.

    • Like 1
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