One has to admire the early American comics...and how they manage tricks like hanging off a clock over a busy road without all the modern whatchamacallits and oogahmaflips.
There was always something surreal and mysterious about the pale white make-up; it seemed to transform actors from humans into strange aliens who could endure great pain as well as communicate great feeling by moulding their facial features into intriguing expressions.
I have to commend the craziness of Laurel and Hardy alongside the Marx Brothers [though they were much later] in addition to Harold Lloyd. Then, of course, there was Chaplin.
Also, Fritz Lang was a remarkable early film director who - like Harold Lloyd - probably deserves more recognition for his work. His film 'Metropolis' is particularly surreal, being in that transition period form stage to screen and a great one for philosophical and ethical analysis.
12/09/2010 at 12:52 PM
Sorry, I meant 'from stage to screen'.
12/09/2010 at 12:54 PM
Welcome back, Sleuth. Never saw Metropolis, just bits they put in old movie montages. One of those things I'd like to get around to doing one of these days.
Don't know if you're familiar with 10,000 Maniacs or Natalie Merchant over the pond there, but back in the day, before they got semi-discovered, they used to play the college circuit in the South here. Anyway, their standard stage thing was to show silent movies, mostly Laurel and Hardy stuff, in the background during their performances. It added a surreal tinge to the show. I wasn't a big fan of theirs, my roommates were, but I adopted from them the habit of watching old black and white movies with the sound turned off on the TV whilst listening to contemporary music. Another one of those things my wife just doesn't understand...
12/10/2010 at 04:31 PM
Metropolis is worth watching.
I am not familiar with 10,000 Maniacs or Natalie Merchant, but fully intend to look them up and investigate. Their technique sounds most interesting, but I understand why it might not appeal, I would probably prefer that they use standard theatre props for performances rather than a Laurel and Hardy background. Something about it just doesn't seem quite right.
Like the idea of old films with contemporary music, it's helpful to mix old and new and make the most out of history.
Sorry that I've taken a while to reply but life gets busier by the minute. Hoping for a lovely break at Christmas.
12/15/2010 at 05:21 AM
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