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Comedy Movies/Charlie Chaplin Or Laurel & Hardy.

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Question
Dear Barbara

Which among the two will be your number one favorite comic movie to watch?.

Thanks
Prashant

Answer
Prashant, I have no particular favorite between those two choices--I like them both equally. They have different charms and I choose to watch them for different reasons. Chaplin evokes more pathos, but he also has some sharp satirical observations. My favorite Chaplin movie probably is "The Gold Rush," although "Modern Times" is a close second. And some of Chaplin's short films are quite enjoyable. Laurel and Hardy, as a comedy team, did both silent and sound films, and many of their shorts are hilarious, esp. "Big Business," where they wind up demolishing a house. Their focus is more on slapstick comedy, with little social commentary. Probably my favorite of their films is "Babes in Toyland" because I saw it as a child (my introduction to the team). But I enjoy many others (such as "Sons of the Desert" and "Way out West").

Still neither Chaplin or the team of Laurel and Hardy would be my top choice for silent film comedy. That goes to Buster Keaton for his mix of slapstick, great timing, and athletic skill. I remain in awe of the stunts he did in films like "The General," "Our Hospitality," "The Navigator," "Steamboat Bill, Jr." and "Seven Chances" (the running from the rock scene is pure gold).

I hope this answers your question.

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Barbara L. Baker

Expertise

I am a professor of communication at a midwest university, who has expertise on subjects related to film. I can answer general questions on U.S. film comedy (especially satires of the 1960s and 1970s) and comic theory. I also could answer questions related to specific comic genres, such as comedian comedies, screwball comedies, "stupid" comedies, and so forth. The more specific you can make your question, the better (e.g. main plot details, main characters, possible character names, possible actors, how you viewed the show, etc.). I also need to have a release date (or range of dates, or at least the year you viewed the film). Please do not just provide a set of links to someplace else (e.g. imdb discussion threads). I am less able to answer questions about comedies from other countries, made-for-TV movies, and recent comic films and actors (although I would do my best to find out). I cannot answer questions about specific TV shows or series, "Our Gang" episodes, anime/magna or about film collectables. I generally cannot provide movie recommendations, since what I find funny others may not. Nor will I answer obvious homework (although I will point you to resources to help answer the question, if asked). I also can't help you find movie stars, or where to buy movie memorabilia, or tell you how to break into the business.

Experience

Course work in comedy films along with teaching about comedy films for several years; I've also conducted research into comedy films.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Communication, emphasis in film and rhetoric

Awards and Honors
A dissertation award from a national organization plus various paper awards

Past/Present Clients
My students

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