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Legendary screen comedian Jerry Lewis once said, "The premise of all comedy is a man in trouble." The films that endeared Lewis and others to us hinged on the physical assault of their hero, the pie in the face or slip on the banana peel that reduced the movie star to the level of the audience. Alan Dale presents a lively and accessible look at slapstick, a form of comedy with roots in the circus and vaudeville that has been refashioned by actors ranging from Buster Keaton to the Marx Brothers, from Katharine Hepburn to Jim Carrey.
Alan Dale worked at a Los Angeles talent agency before earning a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University. He is currently working toward a J.D. at Yale Law School.
Winner of the Theater Library Association's Special Jury Prize for Distinguished Achievement
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Dale worked at a Los Angeles talent agency before earning a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University.From Library Journal:
Slapstick has always been a film staple, and Dale (writing and American studies, Princeton) presents a history of cinematic slapstick, which he defines as an elemental aspect of existence...a fundamental, universal, and eternal response to the fact that life is physical. This is a selective, appreciative survey of the diverse masters of physical comedy, from Charlie Chaplin (with emphasis on his later Great Dictator), stone-faced Buster Keaton, all-American nice guy Harold Lloyd, the Marx Brothers, writer-director Preston Sturges, and French cult-favorite Jerry Lewis. Rejecting the notion that slapstick necessarily involves pathos, the author deftly combines criticism and biography, offering keen insight and lively prose. He notes that studio bosses believed that men rejected female clowns because they didn!t laugh at attractive women, yet Dale makes a compelling case for Katharine Hepburn as a breakthrough slapstick artist. This book is a fine addition to public and academic libraries, deserving a place next to Walter Kerr!s The Silent Clowns (Da Capo Pr., 1990. reprint) and other classics on film comedy."Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA
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