✅ [PDF / Epub] ☉ The Silent Clowns By Walter Kerr ⚣ – Saudionline.co.uk


The Silent Clowns explained The Silent Clowns, review The Silent Clowns, trailer The Silent Clowns, box office The Silent Clowns, analysis The Silent Clowns, The Silent Clowns 53ec Silent Screen Comedy Came Into Being Virtually All At Once And All Of A Piece Flourished For Less That Two Decades, Then Vanished At The Peak Of Its Popularity An Art Without Precedent And Without Heirs Walter Kerr Explores The Nature And Delight Of This Endlessly Fascinating Form, The Achievements Of Its Masters, The Special Circumstances Of Its Coming Into Being, The Changes That Made Sound So Suddenly And Fatally AttractiveHere Then Are The Silent Clowns ThemselvesKeaton The Most Silent And Cinematic Of Them All Chaplin, The Most Popular Entertainer Of All Time Lloyd, The Least Natural Of The Comics, Searching For His Now Famous Persona Baby Faced Harry Langdon, Whose Ambiguous Presence Confuses Us Today Even As It Once Made Audiences Laugh Fatty Arbuckle Hauling The Keystone Cops About By A Rope, Mable Normand, Aloft And Captive In A Flimsy Airplane, Gloria Swanson Tied To The Tracks Raymond Griffith, Blowing Up Gold Mines In His Top Hat And Cape Max Linder The Debonair German Pioneer Lauren And Hardy, The Lucky Ones Who Made The Transition To Sound And WC Fields Nearly As Funny Without Speech As With ItKerr Perceives Silent Screen Comedy Neither As Nostalgia Nor As A Looting Ground For Anecdote He Comes To It With A Full Appreciation Of Its Wonder And Nuance The Silent Clowns Is A Work Of The Strongest Originality From The Book Dust Jacket

  • Hardcover
  • 373 pages
  • The Silent Clowns
  • Walter Kerr
  • English
  • 11 August 2017
  • 9780394469072

10 thoughts on “The Silent Clowns

  1. says:

    Finally This book took a while but, in my defense, the edition I read is huge so I couldn t carry it with me like I do others.I truly missed reading about silent film and Kerr s passion for it came through on these pages This was written before there was easy well easier access to the silence era so one has to absolutely love this medium to seek it out and share these clowns genius with the world.Kerr not only describes popular films of the time but explains the pathos and workings of comedy and how each comedian made it their own It is a must read for anyone interested in silent comedy.

  2. says:

    Start here if you re interested in the study of early comedy Kerr writes with passion and skill Some 380 pages but due to the huge size of the book it would be like 600 pages in a typical size publication The large size is justified as the prints are well selected film and production shots Many of these photos are not found elsewhere The chapters are individuated and detailed essays that read something like Walter Benjamin s lighter moments Kerr s focus is profound and despite the fact that when this was published there wasn t something like Youtube or archive.org that enabled even the laziest scholar to have immediate access to the films so at times he walks you through a scene by scene discussion of the films That might seem vestigial now but with Kerr s skill even this banausic functionality is a delight As Kerr moves past the subject at hand he goes beyond the mere film to discuss the deeper end of the subject at hand and provides some amazing insight into the nature of comedy and pathos itself It might be fair to fault Kerr for marginalizing some of the lesser known stars of early film for example most people that have seen Al St John know that we was, in mere physical terms, superior to Chaplin and Keaton and nobody outside of James Neibaur seems willing to give Arbuckle his appropriate respect but again keep in mind that most of the Arbuckle and thus St John shorts weren t available at the time of this writing This is the best coffee table book and at the same time critical analysis of silent comedy I know.

  3. says:

    When I first became interested in silent films, it was mostly through the great serious European directors Murnau, Lang, Gance, Eisenstein, Dreyer et al I wasn t initially interested in Hollywood silents, and certainly not Hollywood comedies Well, The Silent Clowns totally changed my perspective Though I had seen and appreciated Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, I had dismissed the other greats like Harold Lloyd and Harry Langdon and even Fatty Arbuckle While reading this book, I sought out these Hollywood comedies and immediately fell in love with all of them From there I began to try out other Hollywood films from the 1920 s, both comedies and dramas, and, well, I simply got hooked This is a great book extremely well written with lots of wonderful photos I enjoyed it so much after reading a library copy, I bought a used hardcover version from .

  4. says:

    This is one of the best books ever written on analyzing the classic silent film comedians and their differences and similarities, and the development of film comedy Walter Kerr was a prominent drama and film critic from the 1950s to 1970s his life with his wife Jean and their children was used as the basis for the film Please Don t Eat the Daisies with Doris Day and David Niven , and had grown up during the height of the silent film period So he was able to discuss these films and artists from his own knowledge, but he also was researching parts of the story that actually were less generally known to film buffs even silent film buffs.Kerr starts with the earliest comedies, one or two by D.W Griffiths, but soon is resurrecting the names and careers of the earliest comedy stars John Bunny, a fat, rubicund comic, and the woman who played his wife usually, Flora Finch Barely remembered today, they were so popular in the years before World War I, that the term bunnyfinches was coined to advertise their films at local, early movie houses Usually Bunny tried to enjoy himself while his wife Finch kept an eye o him to see he behaved Not too many of their films survive the best known of them is A Cure For Pokeritis about Bunny hoping to get out of the house to play poker, despite Finch He fails Bunny also made an early feature called Pickwick Papers based on Dickens first novel He died in 1917 Soon a couple tried to add a touch of sophistication to movie comedy Mr and Mrs Sidney Drew they were related by marriage to the Drew and Barry families of actors Kerr by the way was not too impressed by their output, and he never hesitates to mention his opinions of comedians if he is not entranced by them though sometimes one feels like all critics he misses good points about them.For example, after doing Bunny and Finch, and the Drews, Kerr discusses the rise of the first permanently big name in silent comedy, the producer Mack Sennett He gives Sennett his proper due, but notes that while he was very good at spotting talent Chaplin, Mabel Norman, Mack Swain, Ford Sterling, Fatty Arbuckle, and Gloria Swanson were just some of the people he signed up and began developing But he was better at starting free for all types of comedies that for doing anything subtle The result is mixed he is funny in his best comedies, but it is very tiresome after awhile And here one can start questioning a bit of Kerr s comments One other comedian that Sennett developed was Ben Turpin, the cross eyed comedian who was one of the first to become really famous Kerr found little outside of his physical detail to say for Turpin, and can t understand his popularity or continued fame Actually he misses the point about Turpin A comedian who hardly looked threatening or particularly strong, he is constantly playing in comedies where he is a he man, or a performer who gets he man roles In one comedy he is in a scenario in a film within the film of the great hero who has been captured and tied up in a room, rapidly filling up with water The production crew is busy filming Turpin, looking heroic and determined, when they hear fire engines outside Back in the teens and 1920s film crews frequently filmed fires and other disasters for film that could later be used for background sequences In this film Turpin is left by the film crew, and the room is filling up with water You can see the panic growing in his face, and he s yelling for help with nobody in earshot At the tail end of the sequence Turpin is under water, but has managed to get a straw in his mouth that he uses to breath from under water The sequence is actually quite funny Kerr never mentions it.But the full book is well worth reading, especially in detailing the rise of Chaplin, really the first great film star as well as the first great film comedian, and the similar rise of Harold Lloyd who initially tried to copy Chaplin by playing Lonesome Luke , who wears clothing that is too tight on him the Little Tramp s clothing is baggy, and has a moustache that is parted in the middle as opposed to Chaplin s toothbrush moustache Lloyd, working with Hal Roach, and supported by Bebe Daniels and Snub Pollard, changed his characterization to a modern go getter who wore eyeglasses He became an identifiable representative for the middle classes in his films, as Chaplin would be representing the poor as the tramp Keaton is closer to Chaplin as a representative of the lower classes, but occasionally would play wealthy heroes as in The Navigator or Battling Butler , but his fascination was in mechanics of actions and reactions, especially of nature A typical scene for him is in Our Hospitality where he ties a rope around himself on a ledge, thinking it is tied to a higher ledge and he can climb up on it In reality he has no idea that one of a family of his personal enemies was tied to the other end, and when Keaton pulls the rope to test it s tautness, the young man on the other end falls and we see him passing Keaton watching him fall, and then realizing he s still tied to the rope, but falling as well It is done effortlessly and demonstrates Keaton s grasp on natural physical laws and it s effect on film.While the top three were setting the pace for the Silent Comedy, they were joined by a comedian who owed much to a film genius who would reach full power in the sound period This was Harry Langdon, whose characterization was built up by Frank Capra, just starting his brilliant career Capra constructed situations and comic jokes for Langdon and for nearly three years the formula for Langdon s Man Child character through short subjects and two major features Tramp, Tramp, Tramp and The Strongman Capra made Langdon a great comedian But in Langdon s case according to Capra it fell apart because Langdon started believing his movie critics who said that Langdon was overtaking Chaplin as the best comedian Landon started screaming for pathos and did not like hearing one had to build up pathos in the story Capra stopped working with Langdon, and after a third feature Long Pants Landon s other films became less and less popular By 1930 Langdon was something of a has been in Hollywood.Kerr does add three others to the list of great silent comedians Laurel and Hardy are next, technically one comic in two bodies, with the artistry created by Stan Laurel the genius in the pair and Oliver Hardy adding to it when he could The films for Roach from 1927 to 1929 were not only good but tested out sequences that reappeared in their sound films The last great comedian he discusses is one most people never have heard of Raymond Griffith, a top hatted, roly poly man with a moustache Kerr had earlier discussed the one great foreign comedian of the period Max Linder who also sported a top hat and was a typical Parisian boulevardier Griffith was different He believed in slowing down the activity of the film for the characterization of his film type Kerr calls him the heartless man , but does not mean Griffith is without pity rather Griffith never shows the good or bad aspects of emotion In one film everyone is running about with their heads cut off, except for Griffith, who is constantly found curled up and asleep in a comfy chair Problem with Griffith is the paucity of his films Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, and Langdon have left plenty of films that survive to judge them by When in 1976 Kerr wrote The Silent Clowns there were only two major films of Griffith to judge his best work by Hands Up , a Civil War comedy set in the west, and Paths to Paradise , a film about a stylish jewel robbery and mad chase sequence Those films showed Griffith was really quite a sharp film comedian But it s only two films Kerr ends his discussion of Griffith by hoping of his films are found Since then one other film of his, Trent s Last Case has turned up It s okay, but not as good as the other two Griffith probably was terrific at his best but uneven than the other six.Other comedians are dealt with, such as the once very popular Larry Semon who worked with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy before they worked together One who nearly makes the great list did eventually W.C Fields did several feature films in the 1920s, frequently with Chester Conklin as his partners in the films And he is frequently a con man But Fields voice is missing due to these being silent films Oddly enough the title cards show his influence, with the sentences cadences matching his pretensions to sophisticated comments and his wheezing But one wants to hear him talk, and it is nice to know that by 1930 he would start doing so, gracing the screen in comedies like The Fatal Glass of Beer , It s a Gift Million Dollar Legs , and The Bank Dick But by then only Chaplin was still making any silent films City Lights 1931, and Modern Times in 1936 A wonderful and creative age had ended, and left a great treasure of film glory To get a good review of that period, I can think of no better place to start than with Kerr s excellent book.

  5. says:

    These notes were made in 1990 Bought as a coffee table book and it is certainly well illustrated , this turns out to be an extremely intelligent piece of film criticism, with the glossy paper and pictures a bonus to the text rather than the other way around I haven t enjoyed a piece of non fiction so much in ages The chapters on Keaton were favourites, of course, but those on Chaplin, Lloyd and the minor comics have given me new handles to appreciate any of the films I may be lucky enough to see A real plus for my collection.

  6. says:

    Walter Kerr was primarily a theater critic, but he loved movies and especially silent comedies I met him and had a chance to chat with him at Cinecon 12 in NYC in 1976 about cinecon at This is a wonderful introduction to silent screen comedy the comics who starred in them and the art and aesthetics of the genre.Part loving tribute, part thoughtful analysis and part sholarly tome but never dull , Kerr s one film book will stand as his monument after all his theater reviews have been forgotten.

  7. says:

    lushest book of silent comedy

  8. says:

    Walter Kerr s Silent Clowns is a good overview and starting point into the genre of silent film comedy His thesis is analytically driven than history driven, although Kerr does offer solid historical information about the careers of several comedians.He also offers thought provoking insights and theories into the careers and screen personas of the likes of Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, and Langdon.Kerr s piece isn t flawless He s rather centric in his praise of the major four comedians Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, Langdon and most of his writing concerns these four clowns Lesser known comedians or comedians that inhabit the territory of lighter film comedy such as Charley Chase, Johnny Hines, Reginald Denny, etc are or less dismissed as being of lesser importance And Kerr doesn t seem to agree with the idea of female comedians Suggesting that the prettiness of stars such as Constance Talmadge, Marion Davies, Colleen Moore, etc works against them and prevents them from fitting in with Kerr s arbitrary definition of a silent film comedian.All in all whether you agree with everything Kerr says, it s an impressive and intelligent essay Some of the book s most priceless moments occur when Kerr fondly recalls his days as a young boy in the 20 s as an avid film watcher.

  9. says:

    Buster Keaton was the man who entered the shooting gallery in which he worked, picked up a paint pot and brush, painted a hook on the wall, and hung his hat on the hook Buster Keaton was the man who, chased by thugs and trapped in a room offering no available exit, spied a seascape on the wall and dived into it Buster Keaton was the man who sat, a prisoner on shipboard, morosely looking at the world through a porthole, only to have his captor enter the cabin and remove the porthole 117 He was the most silent, as well as the most cinematic, of silent screen comedians 117 After finding a copy of this book, that I no doubt read when it came out, on the shelves of Blue Mountain Center and read several chapters of it there I requested a copy of the book from interlibrary loan As I was reading it, I asked my husband to buy a copy for me for my birthday or Hanukkah We didn t find a copy of it in Hobart, with its five book stores, or is it six Nor did I find it at Catnap Books Walter Kerr makes a point I hadn t heard or read elsewhere Silent comedy makes sense, or sometimes does not in Keaton s case But silent drama doesn t follow the same pattern It is too reliant on words and dialogue to work well I borrowed this from interlibrary loan.

  10. says:

    If you are interested in the silent film era, silent comedy in particular, this is the book for you The information was fascinating, although the author s style was sometimes hard to follow a very complex analysis of the comedians during this era of film As a fan of Buster Keaton, I found the chapters on his work to be the most interesting, but the sections on Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd were wonderful as well Plus, there were some great pictures from their films that enhanced rather than detracted from the information being shared The book definitely left me anxious to watch some of the films I haven t seen as of yet.Be prepared, however.This is what is commonly referred to as a coffee table book dimensionly much bigger than a regular sized hard backed book, with very small print

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