American Slapstick

Movies Reviews Charlie Chaplin
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American Slapstick

There is no form of humor more elemental than slapstick. A purely visual style, it was perfectly suited to silent ?lm. With nothing more than a loose scenario of pratfalls and chases, the right talent could craft a concerto of laughs. Perhaps the form’s simplicity relegated it to the status of a low, primitive art. But art it is, especially when practiced by masters like Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. This two-disc set surfaces 17 rare shorts (all new to DVD) by these greats, including Chaplin’s ?rst directorial turn. While not all the shorts qualify as classics, there are numerous examples of how these comedians mastered the possibilities of silent ?lm, plus important reminders of lesser-knowns like Charley Chase and Snub Pollard, greats who achieved an odd grace in their carefully choreographed stumblings and scramblings.

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