Comedy Incarnate: Buster Keaton, Physical Humor, and Bodily by Noël Carroll

By Noël Carroll

In Comedy Incarnate, Noël Carroll surveys the features of Buster Keaton’s designated visible kind, to bare the precise adventure of observing Keaton’s motion pictures. * daring and provocative thesis written by means of one in all America’s most effective movie theorists* Takes a special examine the philosophies in the back of Keaton’s sort* Weighs visible components over narrative shape within the research of the Keaton’s paintings* presents a clean vantage element for research of movie and comedy itself

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Extra resources for Comedy Incarnate: Buster Keaton, Physical Humor, and Bodily Coping

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All his effort succeeds in achieving is piling the lumber on the opposite side of the train. At one point in this gag, Johnnie’s behavior is almost robotic. He carries on his work in a preprogrammed manner that takes no account of the actual results of his own actions. What the above examples are meant to suggest is that a core group of Keaton’s automatism/inattention gags in The General center around the performance of physical tasks. Sometimes these gags hinge on the character’s mastery of concrete operations, for example, the boxcar gag presupposes facility with left–right manipulations.

Then, there is a medium long-shot of Johnnie, followed by the local town boys, walking on the outside of a hedge. When he doffs his hat to a female passerby, the boys do likewise. When Johnnie takes off his hat entirely, again they mimic him. They march in step behind him and function as pint-sized mirrors, the humor of their actions being based on the parrot-like nature of their movements and the incongruity of such serious social civilities with their age. The third shot is a medium-shot which places Annabelle, book in hand, at the end of a pathway that cuts through a hedge.

He changes the numbers on the crates that contain parts of the prefabricated house. The instructions for assembling the house are based on the numbers on these crates. Keaton, following the directions for building the house, attempts to assemble it according to the instructions despite the fact that the numbers on the crates lead to absolutely outlandish results. A bizarre construction emerges featuring second-floor doors opening into thin air and a roof with a valley in the middle. Obviously, the Keaton character has willfully followed the instructions, never once looking at his results.

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