Sunday, December 23, 2007

An orange is not an apple

There is book review in the December 8th, 2007 edition of The Spectator, by Kevin Brownlow, of Paul Merton's Silent Comedy. Reading it, in conjunction with the running commentary in kid lit list servs regarding the recent release of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, caused me to reflect on guite what drives us into a frenzy of commentary.

In his article, Brownlow, comments on the varying quality of DVD releases of the old classic films by Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, etc. and mentions in passing,

Television is not the ideal way to watch silent comedy because it separates the audience. Chaplin expected his comedies to be seen on screens 25 feet wide, not 25 inches, the laughter to be shared with hundreds of people. Nothing can beat the cinema experience, since audiences are as important to comedy as the film itself. . . .

I sympathise. I can remember seeing the Syd Chaplin film The Better 'Ole on a viewing machine. I thought it the crudest film I'd ever seen. A few months later I saw it at the Pordenone Silent FIlm Festival, with a sympathetic audience, and laughed so much I ended up on the floor."

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