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Everything posted by Chris_Coombs

  1. The settings were used in different ways to make different kinds of gags. In the rotating room, the lobster gooses everyone one by one until they all fly off. In the next gag, the attraction (breath tester) becomes the punch line in a reveal where we think he is vomiting. In the last gag he succeeds through accident. I think it's the different ways he can get jokes out of the setting is clever. Lloyd's character is more low key, than Chaplin's Tramp. The gags seemed to be ordinary situations in which humorous things happen. In Chaplin's comedy, The Tramp seems more active in his gags. In a
  2. Camera placement makes the gag effective because it shows each bit as it plays out: The piano delivery man with Keaton, then the pully on the ceiling pulling down the second floor, and so on. Props help add to the comedy: the breaking ladder, and the wonderful bit when Keaton pulls the picket fence off the porch to use as a ladder. Keaton and Chaplin differ in these ways: Keaton is an every-man overwhelmed by situation, such as the building of a house, or a hurricane, while Chaplin is an underdog usually battling some sort of authority, whether it be a policeman, stern wife, or the butche
  3. As for something missing in today's comedy films, that may not necessarily be true. As for a scene being shot in one master, with no edits, of course you get the gag and the reaction in the same shot. In this particular gag, the timing of the sneaks Charlie makes works better if it's not cut up. However comedies today sometimes still use a one-shot: In Christmas Vacation, there is a dialogue scene in bed between Clark and his wife. The joke is that he is trying to read a magazine and the sap from a tree makes this all but impossible, with pages being torn, sticking to his fingers, even
  4. I don't agree that 1912-1930 was the golden age of comedy. Perhaps the golden age of slapstick. I think the 30's and 40s would be a golden age, if you had to name one. That was the era of Abbot and Costello, The Marx Brothers, screwball comedies, and so on. When the documentary was made (1950), they would have looked back nostalgically at the teens and twenties. Movies from the 40's would have seemed 'recent' to them, and most people don't think of something recent as a golden age. Visual comedy has not left us. We see it all the time. Watch The Naked Gun, Top Secret, Me, Myself, and Irene
  5. In this part we see how the same prop is used for 2 different gags by 2 different performers. It must have been a struggle sometimes to come up with ideas that were fresh. The next level of this is when we see the same prop used for different gags by the SAME performer, in the same film. In other words, how many funny gags can I come up with for this prop? A good example would be the pie fight from Battle of the Century with Laurel and Hardy. Each pie gag is done in a slightly different way. How many ways can we make throwing a pie different and funny? Even more extreme example is the
  6. Of the two gags I actually prefer the earlier, as the wall pivots first, which is very funny. The Steamboat Bill Jr gag was imitated by Jackie Chan in Project A 2 I believe. Part of the fun of the gag is that the victim is unaware of what is about to happen. It's funnier to see him stand there, completely clueless, than if he saw it was about to fall. Which reminds me of a gag in The Gold Rush that had that same element of cluelessness: While journeying across treacherous mountain paths, a bear comes out of a cave, following right behind Chaplin. After a while, it heads back into anoth
  7. I disagree about the tramp being the 'epitome of the bad guy'. In truth, the Tramp is the person we identify with - the person we root for. The police in silent comedies was a standard bad guy - the person who was going to get on your case - the person you had to avoid. It's more about authority trying to clamp down on someone who just want to be left alone. In Payday, for example, the way he hides his pay from his overbearing wife because he wants a little spending money, how he has to sneak home after drinking. These are things we identify with. That's the difference between Tillie's Punctu
  8. The 1st gag - the banana peel - was executed flawlessly. Chaplin did it so naturally. It did not look forced at all. In addition the posturing before hand, the nonchalant pose with the cane. Again in the second gag, he makes the slipping look so natural. Interesting about the social commentary entering the third gag. I am sure at first it was a basic, generic rebellion against the authority figure. But as Chaplin went on it is clear he was saying things with his films. Which brings an interesting question. The bit about slapstick stopping the plot. If the slapstick carries a social
  9. I just thought of something else. Slapstick can be woven into other kinds of comedy seamlessly. It doesn't have to be to the excludion of other kinds of comedy. A perfect example is the Hunting Trilogy by Chuck Jones (Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning, and Duck! Rabbit! Duck!). They are situation comedies, with wordplay jokes, punctuated by extreme slapstick moments i.e. Daffy getting shot point blank such that his bill rotates around his face.) In this case the slapstick moment almost acts like a 'rimshot' to the punchline of the wordplay jokes. Another example is Abbot & Costello, wh
  10. The definitions of slapstick in this course listed 5 elements. One of them was violence. I wonder if an absence of violence as well can be a condition of slapstick when all the other 4 conditions are met. Take the famous gag by Buster Keaton of the house front falling on him from 'Steamboat Bill Jr.'. We expect him to be hit by the wall and laugh at the miracle that he was saved by standing just where the window is. The comedy comes from our expectation of violence, which is, to our suprise, avoided. Yet I would think most people would consider that a slapstic gag. Another example would be
  11. John Cleese talked about a gag in 'Faulty Towers' where he had to hit his broken down car with a branch. He said that if the branch was too small, or too big, too firm or too floppy, the gag wouldn't be funny. The branch had to be just the right size and firmness. Cleese said these details in the execution of a gag are important to how funny it is. The same is true for 'L'Arroseur Arrosé' - the amount and force of the water coming out of the hose for example. So I can agree that the boy being younger would make it funnier.
  12. This was clearly imitated in the Monty Python skit 'The Wacky Queen', which was supposed to emulate silent film footage of Queen Victoria, which would make it contemperary to 'L'Arroseur Arrosé'. Not to mention I have seen the gag in dozens of cartoons.
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