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About KGhidora

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  • Birthday 11/29/1967

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    Denver, CO
  1. I just finished the final too, and I'm a proud holder of all five Slapstick Fall badges. Thank you TCM and Dr. Edwards for putting this course together. I had a great time learning about the history of slapstick films, and really enjoyed seeing everyone's comments on the Daily Doses here on the message boards. I wish I had more time to watch the movies with the live tweeting. I did check in often with searches for #SlapstickFall to see the tweets later. Thanks to Dr. Gehring and Vince Cellini for participating in the videos. They added a nice variety to the printed modules and emailed Daily Doses. I really enjoyed the breakdown of a gag videos, particularly the Marx brothers in the stateroom, and the illustration of the composition of the people in the frame to really show the chaos that was going on. Thanks to everyone that participated in the comments here on these boards. It was great seeing everyone's views on movies, and providing their views and insights to the questions that Dr. Edwards asked. I really enjoyed the format of the online course to talk about films, and I hope that another course is offered in the future. "Everybody knows there ain't no Sanity Clause..."
  2. 1. How would you describe ZAZ's approach to film parody or film spoofs in this scene? Cite specific examples. Like others have posted here, ZAZ's approach is to relentlessly fire off the gags in rapid succession. So many things happen that it's worth watching the film again to see what was missed on the first pass. Specific examples include every time they cut back to the car another air bag has gone off inside it, and the simple scene of walking to the next room has the moment where two characters walk through the door but Frank Drebbin walks off the set and around the wall to get into the next room. 2. How is ZAZ's approach to spoofing similar to or different from Mel Brook and Gene Wilder's approach in yesterday's Daily Dose? It's similar in they are both spoofing specific films and genres, Brooks and Wilder with Frankenstein and other Universal Monster movies of the 30's and ZAZ with Dragnet and other police TV dramas from the 60's and 70's. Young Frankenstein had copies of specific scenes from the original movies, such as the encounter with the blind man from Bride of Frankenstein ("Fire bad..."), but I can't recall any specific scenes from Dragnet being as closely parodied. Some of The Naked Gun's gags were parodies of general scenes that could have been from any episode of the show. In the case of the invention description scene with the Swiss Army Shoe, this could have been Q's scene from several of the James Bond movies. 3. In the context of slapstick comedy, compare Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau with Leslie Nielsen's Frank Drebin. Both characters are inept and caught up in the insanity happening around them. Drebin is more of a deadpan character, in tune with Joe Friday. "Just the facts ma'am..." Clousseau reacts more to the situations around him. He bumbles around in the nudist colony in A Shot in the Dark, hiding himself behind a guitar but at the same time bumping into other people with it.
  3. 1. How does this scene successfully parody the old Universal Horror films of the 1930s? Be specific. The use of black and white mirrors the look of the Universal monster movies. There is a stranger in the back row of the lecture hall with an old wooden box with the journals of the elder Dr. Frankenstein which is similar to Dr. Pretorious arriving in Bride of Frankenstein to convince Victor to resume his experiments. Gene Wilder captures the essence of Colin Clive playing Victor Frankenstein with the wild eyes and voice as he is clearly engaged in his theories. 2. In keeping with Gene Wilder's own observations about the writing of this film, how does this scene move between comic subtlety and broad slapstick humor? Be specific. The scene has broad slapstick in the physical and violent moments, Frederick kneeing the old man in the groin and later stabbing himself with the scalpel. These move to more subtle humor, such as the imitation of Colin Clive's mannerisms and the verbal asides. "Give him another dollar." 3. Would this film and its gags have worked as well if Young Frankenstein was shot in color? Defend your answer. I don't believe so. The movie would still be funny in color, but it would lose out of some of the parody aspects without it being shot in black and white and looking like a genuine Universal monster movie. Most of the film looks like it could have been from the 30's with the look of the castle sets and lab equipment used in the original films. This pulls the viewer into the feel of the movie, and the use of color would not have the same effect.
  4. The crab helping to make people lose their grip on the turntable ride at Coney Island seemed original to me. The bit with Lloyd accidentally hitting the man in the face at the bottle game then the man knocking the bottles over may have been an original here, though there are similar gags in other pictures. There was a variation on this in "Number, Please?" where Lloyd was trying to throw the balls, but because he was distracted he threw them into the next game stall smashing the doll prizes. Lloyd appears in this clip as an average person on an afternoon out with his girlfriend. The gags seem to happen around him. The crab in his jacket pocket pinching the lady on the midway and the patrons on the turntable ride put Lloyd in a situation where misconceptions happen around him leading to the laughs. The crab finally pinches Lloyd, throwing him from the ride. He is shown enjoying his day through the rides, the food, and the carnival games. This differs from the clips we watched of Keaton with house falling down around him, or Chaplin as the swindler trying to propose to the now rich Tilly while slipping and falling on items in the kitchen. I think that at times Lloyd played more of a 'real' character, but he had turns with the absurd and dangerous such as the famous clock scene in "Safety Last." I think Lloyd added to the comedy of misconceptions happening around an average person. The scenes with the crab in this clip, and the police following him thinking he stole a wallet in "Number, Please?" are a style of comedy that appeared several times afterwards.
  5. I think the slapstick elements in this clip match with the conditions of slapstick. Charlie has very exaggerated expressions, especially when he realizes that Pip from Pittsburgh is standing behind him. He has physical interactions with the rosewater dispenser which could also qualify as painful with the shot in the eye. Charlie's facial expressions are repetitive during the clip, and the idea of shaving in a department store, using a man reading the newspaper aloud as a screen is absurd and make-believe. The clip supports Mast's description of Chase. Through the use of facial expressions, Chase shows his crankiness and the exasperation as he deals with the rosewater dispenser and when the girl he is not expecting shows up behind him. I don't think the clip uses music along with the gags. It seems that there is just a single piece of music playing throughout the clip, similar to the way that a pianist would play in a theater with a silent film in the background. The sound is synced to some of the gags, such as the spritz of the water dispenser, and the man reading the newspaper in a dull voice to accompany the article about simplifying income tax returns.
  6. The routine in this clip does meet Dale's definition of verbal slapstick. Groucho and Chico go at a "breakneck clip" in their back-and-forth about the "party of the first part shall be known as the party of the first part...." The words get twisted around at the end of the clip when Chico gets the name wrong. "Everybody knows there ain't no Sanity Clause!" Just about all of the visual slapstick condition exist in the verbal slapstick of the clip. The situation is exaggerated with literal removing of the clauses from the contracts. Groucho has a small physical bit in the clip when he rolls his eyes, making an exaggerated expression at Chico when he says "There ain't no Sanity Clause.". The dialogue is repetitive throughout the bit including "The party of the first part shall be known as the party of the first part that shall be known..." The silliness of the situation of the two tearing up the contracts as they go through them show the situation is make believe. The only condition I don't see in this clip is the painful / violent condition.
  7. These were incredibly dangerous and meticulously planned stunts. Keaton had a great skill to pull these off, and take the viewer from the dread of the impending doom as the wall begins to fall to laughing that he survived only by standing in the exact right spot to pass through the window frame.
  8. 1. Do you agree or disagree with Agee and Youngson's statements that the silent films from 1912 – 1930 constituted "comedy's greatest era" or its "golden age?" Why or why not? I disagree that the silent film era was "comedy's greatest era." There have been several great and memorable comedies that came after the silent era. Comedy on film originated with the silents, but this does not automatically make these films superior to the releases that followed. 2. Do you agree with the film's narrator that in the silent film era the "gags were completely visual—a form of wit that has all but disappeared from the land, but which experts now agree were among the most imaginative and enduring comedy of all…?” Did this form of comedy "disappear" or did it simply evolve in the sound era? Gags by necessity were visual in the silent era, but the form of comedy did not "disappear." Visual gags still exist in films but coexist alongside one-liners and other jokes. 3. What impact do you think documentaries, compilation films, and essays like these have had on popular opinion about the silent film era? I think the documentaries, etc. helped to introduce the silent comics to new audiences. Silent films were less appealing for theaters and especially television which has sound. By showing clips of the films in a documentary which would be broadcast, viewers had an opportunity to see bits of these films.
  9. I also hadn't really thought about how much effort was put into the blocking and the timing for the elements of slapstick routines. Like you mentioned, Chaplin had to be aware of all of the elements in the scene he would be working with while at the same time keeping his eye contact on the other person to sell the illusion of the bumbling klutz slipping on the soap and the bucket. A lesser performer would probably need to glance at the soap to verify its placement before slipping on it, a "tell" that would ruin the bumbling illusion. It's interesting to see the evolution of the routines as Chaplin gained control of the pictures as well, going from a solo pratfall to a full integrated scene with the two police officers. Was this also in part due to a need to continue to impress and entertain the audience?
  10. Back in high school band we used a slapstick to make the whip crack sound for "Sleigh Ride." I didn't know that device existed outside of the percussion section, we just called it the whip. I agree with the definitions of slapstick comedy, and can't really think of anything to add to them. I think all of the conditions are present in slapstick comedies. The more exaggerated the situation is, the more violent the performers can take the act. In yesterday's film, the situation wasn't very exaggerated with the boy messing with the gardener and the violence ended up being sprayed in the face with the hose for both the gardener and the boy at the end of the clip. The Three Stooges shorts often had the boys in very exaggerated situations which allowed for the violence level of the Stooges routines. If Moe was the gardener in L'Arroseur Arosse with Larry as the boy I think we'd be more appalled at the eye gouges and hair pulls that Moe would unleash than we are in the Stooges' own shorts. The Stooges are a great example of the ritualism of slapstick. They repeated cues and gags from several of their shorts, as well as remaking them and cutting footage from them into new shorts... Curly's dog barking and spinning on the floor with a "woob woob woob," Moe's angry glare and "Why, I oughta..." show the exaggeration in the situation and foreshadow that a violent gag is coming. "Niagra Falls... slowly I turn... step by step...."
  11. It was interesting to see how a complete story could be told in just 0:45. There's a sense of anticipation as we know what will happen to the gardener before it happens, based on our viewing angle where we can see the mischievous boy, a 19th century Bart Simpson as we see from the poster that linked to the similar gag from The Simpsons. The shorter version seemed to be funnier to me, perhaps due to the way the gardener gets his revenge on the boy in each film.
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