John Mundy
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Glyn White
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Silent film comedy
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This chapter discusses silent comedy, including the classical comedian comedies of Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. The history and evolution of silent film comedy from the mid-1890s to the coming of commercially viable synchronised sound cinema in the late 1920s mirrors changes within cinema itself during that period. While recognising the diversity that characterised developments in silent film comedy, Peter Krämer identifies some distinct phases in the development of American silent film comedy. American slapstick comedy, reliant on fast and furious physical activity, became associated with Mack Sennett's Keystone Company from 1912 onwards. The importance of character and costume to Max Linder's success proved hugely influential when American film comedy began to challenge the dominance of European companies and comedians in the period just prior to the outbreak of the First World War.

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Laughing matters

Understanding film, television and radio comedy


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