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Everything posted by OldTelevisionRocks

  1. 1. I think one thing that makes this scene work is the camera placement on focusing on one part of the house at a time rather than some of Keaton's work where we can see both the top and bottom of a house. When we are looking at the first floor and then the second, it seems like a tug of war, the audience is still aware of what is going on but the placement allows us to see each predicament, focusing in on the smaller picture one at a time, all the while knowing the bigger picture is going to have a breaking point, the audience is in on the joke. The chandelier is just funny, it's always been funny to see people swinging from things, but chandeliers look kind of ridiculous and it's fun to say. Not a very professional response there on those last few lines but I stand by them. 2. I feel like I used to have an answer to this, but just off the cuff I would say that I like Buster Keaton for his emotion and his face that kind of is a straight man. I think he pushes the limits of the genre in some ways and physically sacrifices himself for a gag. His whole thing is that he is not in the know, he is unaware of what is up, down, or coming at him. Even if he sees one thing, he'll miss another. Whereas Charlie Chaplin created himself into a very specific caricature of "the tramp" and the tramp often knows what he is doing is wrong, like taking some cake, but he is hungry and he is going to take it. That really doesn't do it justice, so maybe I'll come back on this board and figure out what I want to say more eloquently. 3. I feel like Buster Keaton added more of a theatrical spin to slapstick--it's dramatic, a whole house is going to fall on him or he is going to pull a whole house down by a carpet. In "Sherlock Jr"--it's amazing to see the technology for that time of him walking into a movie. I feel like he added more of the impossible to movies. He made things more dream land, unrealistic, and incredulous to believe that someone could be so lucky. Always at the exact right mark to avoid being hit. Yet, we kind of do believe in this, because there have been times where we miss things by a hair or we have friends that always seem to be at the right place at the right time. Peter Sellers in Pink Panther seems to have the same way of being clueless that he is evading dangers all around him.
  2. I believe that this lesson was right on! Slapstick is very much those definitions/elements. I think of them more as elements rather than an "all or nothing" definition because slapstick doesn't necessarily have to include all of these elements--for example violence. Slapstick can be as simple as falling out of a chair-not necessarily violent.
  3. I don't agree it was comedy's greatest age but I do believe it was possibly the most innovative. So much of comedy is dependent on sound to aid delivery. Impressions and voices are great sources of comedy. And silence can also be used as a source of comedy when sound is present such as Jack Benny's pregnant pauses---but without sound something is lost in the delivery and tone. Sight gags have never gone away and pratfalls or tumbles are still happening in modern comedy but it is just less prevalent as it was in the silent era where sight is the main sense used. Documentaries are tricky for me to talk about because I am 23 and know many of my peers who refuse to watch black and white. Their opinion of silent film is that it is boring and cheesy. I understand that, there is no color, there is no sound so there is less of an immersive experience that is identifiable because most of us can see color and hear. So comedy essays that express the feeling that this is the greatest is hard to understand for younger generations because every era has their own style or music and by saying this one is the best it seems to discredit the present value, which some of it will not withstand the tests of time, but some will. I myself love to hear and discuss with another section of my peers the innovations that happened in the silent era but mainly because such essays I personally identify with are not claiming that this is the golden age of comedy--but rather pointing out that this had not been a convention or a technique used up until this point, there is more appreciation there and the ability to see a clip in a new light.
  4. What strikes me is the element of surprise. Most comedy is based on the element of surprise but in this film, the viewer is not necessarily going to be surprised by the outcome of releasing a foot from a hose. Perhaps the tension release is from the reaction where it seems only natural for an audience to react. As Steve Martin's comedy went his theory for his comedy routines was to have so much set up--with no punchline would force people to react at an appropriate time. The anticipation demands a release. I am interested by the boy. Who is he? If it is at a house, and it is a house gardener--is the boy his or the family who pays the gardener? Perhaps it is also funny to see the boy brought down to the gardener's level when the gardener decides to chase after the boy and make him pay for what he has done. A upper class "snooty" kid getting what is coming to him. I know I enjoy seeing someone high and mighty being taken down a peg or two.
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