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Silent Laughs: Chaplin, Keaton or Lloyd?

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Silent Laughs: Chaplin, Keaton or Lloyd?

Postby cinemalover » April 23rd, 2007, 11:00 am

The three acknowledged geniuses of silent comedy. I love them all. But if I had to choose one I would pick Keaton. Seeing The General in a revival theatre as a kid has stuck with me ever since. The wind could shift and I could easily build a case for Chaplin or Lloyd, but Keaton's my man. How about you? Which do you prefer and why?
Chris

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Postby movieman1957 » April 23rd, 2007, 11:32 am

Keaton is my favorite. For me there is a certain shyness to him in addition to him being flat out funny. Sometimes it is that "stone face" that adds to his humor. He is a gifted athlete as well that makes his comedy graceful and natural. Chaplin is graceful as well but it seems too choreographed almost forced.

Lloyd, who I have only discovered in the past couple of years I think is very funny also. He is good at building his gags. At times cocky but rarely too arrogant he'e extremely likeable.

Chaplin, while a great talent and a true innovator, has never been one I've been able to warm up to.
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Postby bobhopefan1940 » April 23rd, 2007, 11:42 am

I wouldn't have been able to answer this honestly until last night, for it was the first time I saw Lloyd on film. I found him very funny, especially A Sailor-Made Man that aired last night on Turner.

I love Chaplin... He was the first silent comedian I came to enjoy. But it was more of a strange attraction to him that made me watch his work. Nothing drew me in right away, I had to warm up to him.

So there is really no comparison for me, it has to be Buster Keaton. I mean, the second I saw him I knew he would be my favorite actor. There's just something about him that makes him so likeable, his whole character is adorable. Maybe I just like rooting for the underdog, and I feel like that's him in most of his movies. I agree with Chris, he is an incredible athlete... I was thinking about that as I watched The General how in shape he must have been to do that film.
"How strange when an illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child." --Judy Garland
"To help a friend in need is easy, but to give him your time is not always opportune." --Charlie Chaplin
"Dumb show is best for screen people, if they must appear in public." --Buster Keaton

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Postby cinemalover » April 23rd, 2007, 12:07 pm

bobhopfan 1940,
You're dead-on about Keaton being an athlete. A modern "athlete' actor who's physical skills always put me in awe is Jackie Chan. Jackie has often said that Keaton was a huge influence on his style of moves and action choreography.
Chris



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Postby pktrekgirl » April 23rd, 2007, 3:13 pm

Well, for me it is Chaplin, all the way.

In fact, I accord Charlie Chaplin pretty much god-like status. I truly think he was one of the most brilliant individuals to ever be associated with the motion picture industry.

I love his features - particularly The Kid (possibly my favorite film EVER), The Gold Rush and City Lights. But many of his shorts are simply brilliant as well:

The Nationals are good - Shoulder Arms, Sunnyside, A Day's Pleasure, and my personal favorite among the Nationals Payday (can't get enough of that gag with him catching the bricks!!!! I could watch that every day and never tire of it!)

But even in the Mutuals, he is just great! My favorite among the Mutuals is 1 A.M. - that one is HILARIOUS!!!!...And is another film I could watch almost every day. But The Floorwalker is great, as is The Vagabond and several others.

For me, I think my attraction to the Tramp is on a very personal level. The Tramp never lets life get him down. He makes the best of every situation, and does what he likes, regardless of the potential consequences. Because to the Tramp, consequences are almost irrelevant in any event, because he will do his utmost to avoid them. :lol:

I like that attitude and wish I was more like that. Buster Keaton's character's life pattern is to try, fail, and take your lumps. And since this is my personal pattern as well, I normally feel sorry for Buster's characters. I laugh at them...but fundamentally I often feel sorry for them.

The Tramp never takes his lumps. In fact, he avoids his lumps a good chunk of the time. And on a personal level, I admire his creativity when it comes to avoiding lumps. :lol: There is no need to feel sorry for the Tramp, because he never feels sorry for himself. He simply finds another way to get what he wants.

I think I also love Chaplin because of the 'layers' within his comedy. Chaplin comedy is like peeling an onion...there are the gags themselves, there is the emotional stuff - the pathos, if you will....and often, there is some sort of a social message as well. Chaplin doesn't rely solely on physical comedy to reach his audience...he pulls at their emotions as well...and then goes even a step past that and tries to leave them with something worthwhile to think about too.

I love Buster Keaton...and in particular think The General is a great film. But for me, it would be really tough for any film to beat The Kid.

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Postby MikeBSG » May 22nd, 2007, 2:00 pm

I just watched "Seven Chances" last week on DVD. Wow, the chase at the end of the film is outstanding. And all done without computers. Keaton is unbelievable as he summersaults down the mountain with the boulders all around.

I tend to like the less known Keaton films (Seven Chances, Go West, Thre Ages and Our Hospitality) to the "official" classics like The General and Sherlock Jr.

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Postby movieman1957 » May 22nd, 2007, 2:17 pm

Mike:

I have recently seen "Go West" and "Three Ages" and enjoyed them very much. Like you "Seven Chances" and "Our Hospitality" are among my favorite comedies of all.

One gag from "The General" that really gets to my family is almost a subtle one. It's where Buster uses that split rail fence to use for fuel for the train. The girlfriend throwing the wood into the fire finds one with a hole in it and promptly throws it away since it's no good. A little gag but really funny.
Chris

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Postby bobhopefan1940 » May 22nd, 2007, 2:29 pm

I just broke down and bought the set, The Art Of Buster Keaton and have only watched two dvds thus far... Sherlock Jr. and The Navigator. Oh my, what incredible films! I can't wait to discover the rest. *in heaven* This man is just the most amazing thing I have ever seen!
"How strange when an illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child." --Judy Garland

"To help a friend in need is easy, but to give him your time is not always opportune." --Charlie Chaplin

"Dumb show is best for screen people, if they must appear in public." --Buster Keaton

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Postby Mr. Arkadin » May 22nd, 2007, 6:03 pm

bobhopefan1940 wrote:I just broke down and bought the set, The Art Of Buster Keaton and have only watched two dvds thus far... Sherlock Jr. and The Navigator. Oh my, what incredible films! I can't wait to discover the rest. *in heaven* This man is just the most amazing thing I have ever seen!


Check out Go West next. :wink: I love that film!

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Postby bobhopefan1940 » May 22nd, 2007, 7:16 pm

Mr. Arkadin wrote:
Check out Go West next. :wink: I love that film!


THANKS!! I was wondering which one I was going to watch tonight (first)... :D
"How strange when an illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child." --Judy Garland

"To help a friend in need is easy, but to give him your time is not always opportune." --Charlie Chaplin

"Dumb show is best for screen people, if they must appear in public." --Buster Keaton

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Postby SSO Admins » May 22nd, 2007, 8:19 pm

movieman1957 wrote:One gag from "The General" that really gets to my family is almost a subtle one. It's where Buster uses that split rail fence to use for fuel for the train. The girlfriend throwing the wood into the fire finds one with a hole in it and promptly throws it away since it's no good. A little gag but really funny.


I love that bit too. Very funny.

bobhopefan1940 wrote:I just broke down and bought the set, The Art Of Buster Keaton and have only watched two dvds thus far... Sherlock Jr. and The Navigator. Oh my, what incredible films! I can't wait to discover the rest. *in heaven* This man is just the most amazing thing I have ever seen!


Both of those are brilliant. I love that set. I bought it when it was released, and watched it all in like two weeks. Keaton really is the best of the silent comics.

I showed One Week to a Six Sigma team I was leading -- all corporate types, and they were just dying (and it was appropriate too).

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Postby bobhopefan1940 » May 22nd, 2007, 9:07 pm

I am really looking forward to seeing One Week, and Seven Chances, for that matter. I have heard glowing reviews about them, but especially the former.

I adored the scene in Sherlock, Jr. where he finds the dollar in the trash, then gives it away to a young lady who claims she has lost it. I enjoy the honesty, a trait that Chaplin's character (amusingly so) never attained. It is really humorous when the older lady comes along, claiming the same loss with tears in her eyes. Thus, the tender hearted guy gives away his own dollar... With tears in his eyes.

I think the stunts Keaton did were just so amazing, but I think it is the little moments like these that keep you watching.
"How strange when an illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child." --Judy Garland

"To help a friend in need is easy, but to give him your time is not always opportune." --Charlie Chaplin

"Dumb show is best for screen people, if they must appear in public." --Buster Keaton

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Postby SSO Admins » May 23rd, 2007, 3:31 am

bobhopefan1940 wrote:I adored the scene in Sherlock, Jr. where he finds the dollar in the trash, then gives it away to a young lady who claims she has lost it. I enjoy the honesty, a trait that Chaplin's character (amusingly so) never attained. It is really humorous when the older lady comes along, claiming the same loss with tears in her eyes. Thus, the tender hearted guy gives away his own dollar... With tears in his eyes.


I use that scene to show why I prefer Keaton to Lloyd, comparing it to the scene in Safefy Last where Harold pays the office boy a dollar, then steals it back. It's not just that Keaton is funny, even though he is. His essential morality and decency raises his films above those of Lloyd, without descending into Chaplinesque pathos.

Keaton is by far the best film comedian of all time in my book.

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Postby movieman1957 » May 23rd, 2007, 8:30 am

In "One Week" be sure to watch carefully as he does a gag that will become very famous later when it is done on a bigger scale. The way they use that house is amazing. You are in for a good time.
Chris

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Re: Silent Laughs: Chaplin, Keaton or Lloyd?

Postby dfordoom » May 23rd, 2007, 2:32 pm

cinemalover wrote:Which do you prefer and why?


Keaton. Our Hospitality is the only silent comedy that has ever had me laughing out loud. On the while I really dislike silent comedy, but Keaton was actually funny.


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