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Silent Film Comedy
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  1. Silent Film Comedy A Content Analysis Diane Fitzpatrick

  2. A slapstick from the Commedia dell’arte

  3. Slapstick comedy • Physical comedy that employs… • Broad humor • Absurd situations • Vigorous, usually violent action • Often includes chases slapstick. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 21, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/548077/slapstick

  4. Slapstick comedy • Has become used to describe most comedies of the silent era even as they evolved toward more character/story-based humor • With the more violent stuff termed “knockabout” …A couple of examples… (please don’t try this at home, kids)

  5. Oranges & Lemons 1923

  6. Barney Oldfield’s Race for a Life 1913

  7. The Codebook Unit of Analysis

  8. Unit of Analysis • The Laugh Point – the point during a comic bit at which the audience laughs • The Laugh Region – a series of laughs that come so closely together as to be somewhat indistinguishable from one another

  9. The Codebook Main Elements

  10. The Codebook Acting Style

  11. Stage Acting • Not naturalistic • Over-emphatic gestures and facial expressions • Derived from legitimate theater and vaudeville • To be seen from a distance, or • Exaggerated for comic effect

  12. Be My Wife 1925

  13. Pantomime & Transformation • Pantomime – The use of actions and gestures to convey meaning without words • Transformation – When an object known for one purpose/function is treated as if it holds another purpose/function

  14. The Gold Rush 1925

  15. The Codebook Physicality

  16. Stunts & Danger • PH7. Stunt. Did an action that contributed to the laugh point occur that would require such skill or coordination of movement that a professional would be needed to design or implement it? • PH8. Danger. Did the above stunt involve apparent danger to the character?

  17. Our Hospitality 1923

  18. The Codebook Laugh Point Motivation

  19. Story motivation • LP2: Story. Was the action at the laugh point caused by something NOT clearly motivated by the story?

  20. Get Out & Get Under 1920

  21. The Codebook Effects

  22. The Codebook Humor Theory

  23. Some sample coding The Freshman, 1925

  24. The Freshman 1925

  25. Discussion • Does anything from the codebook stick out as… • unclear, • ambiguous, or • needing refinement?

  26. Help! I need two people interested in coding a 20-minute segment of The Freshman. Any takers?

  27. The End.