Sunday, November 7, 2010

Film Comedy - a lost skill

I took a course in college once on the history of film.  One of the papers I wrote was about the legacy and history of burlesque: the art of slapstick comedy and the reasons why it could not be performed today in the same way.

One of the reasons I used was that the performers were more realistic; that the nature of the film industry has changed greatly with the changes made with technology, computers, and special effects.  Another reason was the chemistry between the cast members:  it's as if an innocence has been lost over the years. There just isn't the same kind of dynamics.

And finally, I made the point that there just aren't the same kind of comedy teams working the circuit of theaters because the movie industry itself has changed:  the promotion of DVDs and other home entertainment systems have altered the way we view the world.

One of the acts I used as an example was the Three Stooges.  In the paper, I used the example of their personalities and appearance being so absurd as to be believable; it was to their credit that it seemed ANYONE could be smarter than these guys.  It was also because of the timing of their routines; notice in the film short that it's one gag after another, and that they appear totally surprised at each new one.  It's hard to imagine holding one's composure and reflexive response NOT to duck when a pie is coming!  "Oh, me! Never have I been through such a lion fight!"


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