Saturday, May 26, 2012

FUNNY PICTURES: Animation and Comedy in Studio-Era Hollywood (2011, Goldmark & Keil)

Goldmark Daniel and keil Charlie [Eds.], Funny Pictures: Animation and Comedy in Studio-Era Hollywood, Los Angeles, University of California Press, 2011.

PDF / 3 MB / 344 pp / Eng / 0520267249 / 978-0520267244

The comedy vein in American animation have always been favored, the goal of the golden age of animation was to amuse, that is: to make the audience laugh. But why there was such a predominance? In this collection of essays, the links between comedy and animation are explored from a variety of perspectives.

- Paul Wells focuses on the many ways Chaplin's cinema have influenced animation; e.g.: Felix in Hollywood (Otto Messmer, 1923), compare Modern Times (Chaplin, 1936) with Clock Cleaners (Disney, 1937).
- Mark Langer takes on the Fleischer Films to destroy the myth that they were failed gag narratives "made up as they went along". Instead he prefers to see their style as an inheir of the Vaudeville comedy and the New York urban context.
- J.B.Kaufman analizes the basic construction of comedy in early Mickey Mouse cartoons and what was different with Disney's later personality animation comedy.
- Gag oriented cartoons are seen as a reaction to the Great Depression in Donald Crafton essay. Expressing the Depression simbolically or literally: The three little Pigs (Disney, 1932); When my ship comes In (Fleischer, 1934); Honeymoon Hotel (Schlesinger, 1934); The Grasshopper and the Ants (Disney, 1934).
- The 30's cartoon gag narration is the subject of Richard Neupert study, focusing on three short masterpieces: Musicland (Disney, 1935); The Sunshine Makers (Van Beuren, 1935) and Funny Little Bunnies (Disney, 1934).
- Susan Ohmer reveal us Disney comedy as a precise Science to make us laugh (for profit), a narrative device constructed thanks to the efforts of the Audience Research Institute and George Gallup (one of the first attempts of marketing research).
- The golden age cartoons were racist... but funny. This is the subject of Nicholas Sammond research: the racist comedy in Golden Age animation.
- The relations between animation and live action comedy it's what gets Henry Jenkins atention (specially the Tex Avery cartoons).

- Philip Brophy enunciate the idea that cartoons are comical because underneath they have a... sexualized base, and symbolizes paraphilia sexual practices (atraction to objects rather than persons). To prove it, he will analize different cartoon characters: Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, The Roadrunner, Tinker Bell, Gerald and Mr. Magoo.
- Charlie Bowers films are the subject of Rob King Essay (and of course also The Mutt and Jeff cartoons).
- Tex Avery obsessions and humour (the same thing really) get Scott Curtis atention. His tendency to repetitions on single gags, and the automatism aspects of Avery's comedy.
- Ethan de Seife writes on Frank Tashlin visual comic style.
- The music and the sound effects are what makes a cartoon funny, that's the thesis of Daniel Goldmark; he will analize the work of the most important animation composers: Carl W. Stalling; Scott Bradley; Max Steiner; Joe Denat and Edie Kilfeather; Frank Churchill; Leigh Harline; Oliver Wallace; Philip A. Scheib.
- Linda Simensky analizes 1990's cartoons comedy.

Some are brilliant, others pure nonsense... It's a fun collection of essays (with a lousy cover art job: there's nothing funny about that picture). (by pelida77)

Do you want to read this book? You could follow this link...