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Best Comedic Timing

Isn't Romantic Comedy redundant?

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ken123
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Best Comedic Timing

Postby ken123 » July 9th, 2010, 11:52 am

I would prefer the period of 1930 - 1970, but more recent nominees are ok. 8)

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MissGoddess
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby MissGoddess » July 9th, 2010, 12:21 pm

My nominees would have to include Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Edward Everett Horton, Rosalind Russell, Lucille Ball, Una Merkel, Dick Van Dyke, and William Powell. I'm sure I'm forgetting some great ones, too.
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JackFavell
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby JackFavell » July 9th, 2010, 7:06 pm

I'll second Jack Benny.... George Burns.

Buster Keaton:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viKNPXA4ukc&feature=related[/youtube]

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pvitari
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby pvitari » August 16th, 2010, 10:06 am

What about the silent comedians -- Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Chase, Arbuckle, etc.?

I just saw The General at our Fox Theatre and it had everyone in stitches. :)

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movieman1957
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby movieman1957 » August 16th, 2010, 11:07 am

I've always thought Keaton had the best physical timing. I know they can spend hours setting up gags but the stunt work is so on as to be amazing and funny at the same time. Lloyd had good timing too but I don't think it quite matches Keaton. I have a fondness for Charley Chase too. I've said before I always thought Chaplin a little too choreographed which I guess proves he had great timing as well.

One of my favorite bits in "The General" is almost a too small to notice. When Keaton and his girl are running the train and she is filling it with wood she picks up a piece of a rail fence and upon looking at it notices there is a hole in it so she throws it away.

There is a similar scene in "Our Hospitality" where someone throws rocks at the "train" the conductor (wonderfully played by Keaton's father) throws back firewood at the man who picks it up to take home and use.
Chris

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JackFavell
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby JackFavell » August 16th, 2010, 12:38 pm

I love that part of the General, Chris. I also love the methodical timing of each "surprise" throughout. The best thing about Keaton is the way he takes a standard gag, and turns it till you are caught off guard by the shock of the twist - followed by laughter. In other words, you KNOW that Keaton will blow up his own train.... but he has something far more incredible in store.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3xh108cLbo

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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby MissGoddess » August 16th, 2010, 1:22 pm

I really need to give Keaton a chance. I've never quite gotten into his films. I adore Chaplin, because
he makes me cry as much as laugh. I really don't find Harold Lloyd funny. I admit to being more drawn
to dramas in silent film, as opposed to comedy. I don't know why. Maybe I prefer "verbal" humor.

I want to include Cary Grant in my list. I think his timing was quite impeccable.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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JackFavell
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby JackFavell » August 16th, 2010, 1:44 pm

Goddess,

I think you would actually grow to love Keaton....there is something very stoic and sad about him that I think you would find very appealing. When you start to watch his films all the way through, you get something different from what you see in clips.

He is a man who will risk all for love. He is an unlikely hero who owes almost as much to fate as to his own skills, but his attempts to win or woo or save are heroic in themselves, no matter the outcome. There is a heart to Keaton, but it is buried deep. I also find him the most magical of all the comedians. The world can be a disaster for him, fickle and mischievous, but it can always be seen as a place where anything can happen and often does.

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movieman1957
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby movieman1957 » August 16th, 2010, 2:05 pm

Keaton has a great deal of heart and I think has that quality of "pathos" if that is the right word. Some of his scenes in "The Cameraman" are heartbreakers because he is trying so hard to impress the girl. "Sherlock, Jr" has a wonderful ending when Keaton professes his love for his girl and replicates the movie he is showing as to how he should kiss her. Also at the beginning of that film he finds the money when sweeping out the theater only to have someone claim it. Then someone else comes along for the same thing and he gives them a dollar. He winds up spending two or three dollars of his own money rather than disappoint the people he sees that need it. He is often polite to a fault.

Other than those we mentioned "Our Hospitality" and "Go West" show a gentle side. "The Navigator," "College," "Steamboat Bill, Jr." are among the best Keaton examples.

I agree with MissG about Grant.
Chris

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JackFavell
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby JackFavell » August 16th, 2010, 2:51 pm

Absolutely, Cary Grant, with Holiday and His Girl Friday right at the top of anyone's list of comic timing gems. Not to mention The B and the B, and Mr. Blandings.

Not to harp on Keaton, but Steamboat Bill, Jr is a very accessible Keaton... it's very simple, but I think you would like it very much. Chris gave some great choices.

Something else you would probably like about Keaton is that he was very athletic, did all his own stunts (some of which are complex and amazing to behold), and he was a stickler for authenticity. The General (and his other period films) is so authentic looking it looks like it was filmed during the Civil War, which was only 64 years before, after all. It is actually an adventure with comedy, or vice versa, and it's breathtakingly beautiful. It is epic, like The Iron Horse, and was based on a true incident from the war. As one writer put it, it is more beautiful than funny, but has several big guffaws timed perfectly throughout the film. It is a sustained comedy, rather than a one-after-another joke driven comedy. If nothing else, you will find Keaton a wonderful director - I think you could make a case for Keaton being the Ford of comedy. They seem remarkably similar to me at times, using small town and period atmosphere in much of their work. Both were definitely thinkers.

Try to find the version with three scores to choose from. I could live without ever hearing the score by the Alloy Orchestra again.

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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby MissGoddess » August 16th, 2010, 5:37 pm

Thanks so much for the recommendations, Wendy, Chris. Of course, Wendy, you know
you've "sold"me now on Keaton by the comparison to Ford, and Chris, by mentioning "pathos". I'm
a sucker for both.
:D :D :D
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pvitari
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby pvitari » August 16th, 2010, 8:45 pm

Movieman, watch the scene in City Lights where Charlie meets the Flower Girl for the first time on the sidewalk. It definitely feels "choreographed" and that's why I love it so -- the timing, the movements, are so precise down to the most minute gesture (Chaplin instructed Virginia Cherrill on how to move *just so*), and yet that is exactly why the two characters and the situation are so funny and poignant at the same time. Add in the beautiful score and I feel like I'm watching ballet. I could watch that scene over and over -- and in fact, I have. ;)

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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby MissGoddess » August 16th, 2010, 9:19 pm

I know what you mean, Paula. Oh goodness, just reading about that scene tears me up. I don't
know HOW Chaplin does it, but he can rip my guts out in under two shots.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby movieman1957 » August 16th, 2010, 9:30 pm

I have seen "City Lights" a couple of times and it is a tender and lovely scene. Chaplin was an enormous talent. The fact that he wrote directed, starred, scored his movies is a force like there have been few others. Oddly I don't feel as manipulated, if that equals choreographed, in those tender scenes as I do in his comedic scenes. I guess it is those scenes that the warmth I get even in Keaton's films that escapes me. I don't dislike him as much as I find Keaton more genuine.
Chris

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JackFavell
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Re: Best Comedic Timing

Postby JackFavell » August 16th, 2010, 9:39 pm

I like them both.


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