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

By Noël Carroll

In Comedy Incarnate, No?l Carroll surveys the features of Buster Keaton’s specified visible sort, to bare the exact event of gazing Keaton’s movies. daring and provocative thesis written by way of one among America’s leading movie theoristsTakes a distinct examine the philosophies in the back of Keaton’s styleWeighs visible components over narrative shape within the research of the Keaton’s workProvides a clean vantage aspect for research of movie and comedy itself

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

Sample text

When The General is first hijacked, Johnnie, who had been washing up, beckons bystanders, and lights out on foot after the train. The chase begins, recorded by an overhead long-shot. Johnnie and four volunteers run towards the camera. Then, the camera cuts to a reverse-field position with Johnnie running away from the camera. The audience then observes that the four volunteers have stopped following Johnnie. He runs onward, chasing the train all by himself. At this point, the story shifts away from Johnnie to describe the initial activities of the Union spies and the Southerners’ abortive attempt to wire ahead to their forward positions in order to stop the hijacked train.

In Sherlock Jr. the landscape disappears and the character remains. This account appears to be descriptively adequate. However, it fails to even suggest why Keaton would want to reverse the standard ciné-comic format. An explanation for this is called for specifically because it is not generally the case that the reverse of a gag is still a gag. It just so happens that the reversal in this sequence works as a gag. But why is reversal felt to be relevant? The analysis in terms of unadaptability at least relates the sequence to the structure of automatism and inattention gags.

The first aesthetic function of the narrative that should be noted has to do with the extreme symmetry of the story. In many ways, when the Union general and the spy examine the map in the beginning of the film, they are surveying a diagram of much of the action of the narrative. In the chase scenes, there is a doubling of action. First, the Union spies cut the telegraph wires, scatter debris on the tracks, and switch tracks. Then, it is Johnnie Gray’s turn. This repetition sets up an extremely satisfying system of motifs with telling variations.

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