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Bill Holmes

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About Bill Holmes

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    Upstate New York

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  1. At the risk of sounding like an echo, I too must tip my cap to the wonderful work from all involved. I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up for Film Noir last year, but one interaction with Dr. Edwards showed that we would not only have expert guidance, but also be led by a fellow fan of the subject matter. Improving the video segments this year by incorporating more visual tools was a nice bonus. And it was a great surprise to see my old sports reporter fave Vince Cellini was a slapstick buff! Like noir, I had already had broad exposure to a large portion of the filmography, but wa
  2. 1. There's a phrase that comes to mind - "everything but the kitchen sink" - but ZAZ will also toss in that sink as well. The broader the joke, the better. Nielsen's car almost running him over is funny enough, but then the bullets, the dozen airbags, the fire hydrant, the explosion, and then finally the deadpan "Did anyone get the plate? Did anyone see the driver?" makes it that much more absurd. (One of my favorite sight gags of theirs is Robert Stack whipping off a pair of shades - ala David Caruso - for dramatic effect, only to reveal a smaller pair of shades underneath!) 2. I think th
  3. 1. How does this scene successfully parody the old Universal Horror films of the 1930s? Be specific. Where to start? Black and white, protagonist starting out distanced from the main premise (a doctor disavowing his past here, a relative summoned to an obscure location) but eventually succumbing to the issue at hand. A situation (about to arise in the very next scene) where this now vulnerable man is pointed towards the old house and laboratory. And they did use many of the original sets, of course, as well as many of the classic lines ("Alive...ALIVE!!"). Or to paraphrase a certain Corleone.
  4. Sellers plays Clouseau as the perfect intersection of mental and physical bumbling, yet always forging ahead with oblivious confidence. What's funny is that he sort of owns up to the first gaffe (ripping the felt on the table), but tries to pass off the second goof (stack of pool cues) as a manufacturing defect and then, when walking into the wall, tries to cover his humiliation with righteous indignation. I don't think he could have handled a fourth - but there was no risk of that since comedy has a "rule of threes" for a reason. What really makes this work is the unflappable George Sande
  5. I could be wrong here, but I believe Lloyd owned copyrights on most or all of his work and purposely limited their release. He was certainly highly rated at the time, but subsequent generations did not stumble across him like they did with Chaplin and Keaton (or later, The Three Stooges, Abbott & Costello, etc.). I know I didn't, and growing up in New York City just about every slapstick comic and comedy duo/group were unavoidable if you watched WPIX, WOR and WNEW. Perhaps a career legacy mistake? The Dave Clark Five were one of the biggest bands of the 1960s but Dave Clark held off re
  6. (FYI - seeing some are having trouble, but perhaps it's fixed now. I was able to link and view from the email without issue). I'd have to re-watch Bananas again to form a final opinion, but I disagree with Mast - I find The Great Race to contain far more allegiances to Sennett - much more physical comedy like pie fights and crashes, and Professor Fate is basically Wile E. Coyote come to life. Maybe a touch of Roach, as even the villains turn out to have elements of humanity when the **** hit the fan. This clip from Bananas is more funny for the deadpan and droll delivery of an absurdis
  7. Just wanted to say thanks for continuing to look for ways to make these courses special. I think adding the use of the telestrator in the video lectures and stopping the action to enhance the narration with visual cues is a wonderful add this year. Used sparingly (as in "don't go all John Madden on us!") it supplements an already pointed and enjoyable dialogue. Kudos! I hope this tool is retained as future courses (Westerns? Crime films?) are compiled in future seasons.
  8. 1. In what ways does Lloyd use the settings, amusements, and attractions of Coney Island in pursuit of creating original slapstick gags? Interestingly he uses the shorter bits (sliding down backwards, spinning off turntable) to set up the subtle sight gag where it appears he's puking but is actually blowing into a tube to test his lung capacity. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Schickel's assessment of Lloyd as more "real" or "freer" of "exaggeration and stylization" than Chaplin or Keaton? Why or why not? Keaton's forte was "man versus object" (a train, a hurricane, a collapsing h
  9. Arbuckle is unfairly underrated in the history of silent comedy; partially due to the types of gags (usually simple and with him getting even) but probably also due to the unfortunate real life scandals. Ironic that comedians of that girth often make their physicality the focus of their humor while "Fatty" always focused on the gag first. Had he been as thin as Stan Laurel, getting clipped by the mallet would have been equally funny - especially without the amplified sound a heavier man might have leveraged. But Keaton shines here even in a supporting role - and yes, odd to see him smile a
  10. Agreed, which is why when someone does utilize it for a purpose, it's worth complimenting. And I don't mean just the transition from black and white to color so spectacularly used in The Wizard Of Oz and Pleasantville, among others. For example, Warren Beatty overtly used color to turn Dick Tracy into a human cartoon, while The Sixth Sense was so subtle that most people only pick up on it (like the major reveal) on the second viewing even though it was right in front of us the whole time.
  11. Thanks for everything, Dr. Edwards - a fascinating course that was always captivating, and enhanced greatly by the community spirit. I had so much fun reading the posts from my fellow students, several of which caused me to watch a scene (or film) again from a different perspective. Please pass our sincere gratitude to all who made this work, especially those behind the scenes at Canvas, Ball State and TCM. I hope that our participation inspired *you* (and Eddie Muller, and TCM) enough to consider another online course somewhere down the line. Perhaps neo-noir, Euro-Asian noir, or the film
  12. That's a tough ask, but the five below would be appropriately discussed in any conversation about the greatest films ever made. In my order of preference... The Killers Out of the Past The Postman Always Rings Twice The Third Man Strangers On a Train Favorite that I had not seen before: The Mask of Dimitrios.
  13. Love the opening, we're being airlifted into something but we don't know what yet. Urban night scene, cars, lights, lots of activity but we're headed to one small particular. We're deked into thinking it's about the first couple, then the car, but finally we see the couple kissing in the darkness. When the light hits, their reaction and conversation quickly lets us know: It's an affair and they'd be in trouble if someone they knew saw them He's going to do something dangerous, and he's more nervous about it because she isn't supposed to be there tonight Ah it's she who is cheating - but sh
  14. What role does music (especially the record playing Wagner) play in the intensity of this scene? At first it seems odd, but we eventually see that the volume is used to make the prisoner think the beating will not be heard by anyone - although I suspect the Captain is aware that his staff can hear it just fine. But when he raises the volume to symbolize that it's *on*, the pan around the room to the military images and photos clearly show that the Captain is getting pumped up the way an athlete uses music for a workout or prior to a game. And of course, the editor is made acutely aware it's g
  15. Describe how this scene uses cinematography to accentuate the brutal beating of Steve Randall (Steve Brodie). The room is stark and filled with shadows. Burr's first punch comes right into the camera, as if the audience is Steve's jaw. When Steve is thrown on the table and hits the light, the shadows fluctuate between full bore focus and complete darkness. It's as if we are being shown flash cards of a progressively more brutal beating and being manipulated into looking every time. The sway of the lighting also creates a pendulum effect (a ticking clock) that subliminally communicates the len
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