John Mundy
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Early sound film comedy
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This chapter focuses on the work of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who moved successfully from silent to sound film comedy within Hollywood. It then focuses on the cinematic work of the Marx Brothers, who came to Hollywood via vaudeville and Broadway. The chapter examines the dynamics of their verbal humour while focusing on the key early sound period of 1927 to 1930. Analysis of the opening section of Beau Hunks will show how Laurel and Hardy's humour works. Films such as Ask a Policeman show how the first decade of sound film comedy established the basis for British slapstick, the institutional Carry On comedies of early 1960s, and the surrealism of some Britain's best radio and television programmes. The chapter also examines the idea of the anarchistic film more fully by taking examples from the Marx Brothers films.

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Laughing matters

Understanding film, television and radio comedy


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