Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to YouTube - Trav. S.D.

Finally managed to read this wonderful book, a history of silent comedy perfectly described in its subtitle. I was always interested in silent movies, since they were made during the late 19th/early 20th century and I love the entertainment of that era, but to be honest, they are difficult to appreciate fully on a smaller (TV) screen at times. In the last few years have I been able to experience silent films on local "big screens" with live musical accompaniment, which is fabulous. The artistry of the best of these silent comedians is timeless and I have found myself captivated by such greats as Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Roscoe Arbuckle, etc. etc. If you are at all a fan of slapstick/silent comedy in general and these comedians in particular, this book is a wonderful resource as a history of their filmmaking and a history of slapstick comedy. Having seen many Keaton, Lloyd, and Chaplin films relatively recently, I was able to picture many of the specific scenes the author describes and that really added to my enjoyment.

Trav S.D. also wrote the terrific vaudeville overview No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book that Made Vaudeville Famous (which I thought I had reread and reviewed on this blog, but I haven't [yet]; to sum up, it's a great book and you should read it immediately). He knows his stuff and is a great researcher, as well as an engaging writer. Highly recommended.

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