Silent Films

I bet most of you, whether you know it or not, are fans of silent comedies. Tom and Jerry? Roadrunner and Coyote? It doesn't get better than that. 

First we watched a couple Tom and Jerry shorts to get in the right mindset.

What do all these animated characters have in common?  They were all inspired by the work of early silent comedians.

Here's what the AllMusicGuide has to say about the Beatles: "Moreover, they were among the few artists of any discipline that were simultaneously the best at what they did and the most popular at what they did."

It's true.  Any other artists you can think of that were both the best and the most popular?  In class was mentioned Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg (maybe not right now, but when he made Jaws, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Schindler's List).  But it's hard to think of others.  But back in the 1910's and 20's the world had not one, but three filmmakers that fit this description.

So this last week we've been watching short films and clips from Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd.  80 years later, and their genius is still unmistakable, and they can still make a roomfull of jaded media-gorged teenagers laugh.

Here's some online films:

Buster Keaton:

Harold Lloyd:

Charlie Chaplin:

Laurel and Hardy are also pretty great here in "Big Business"