Friday, 3 June 2011

Encore’s Birthday Marathon: Day 17

I’ve got something of an aversion to physical comedy. Even as a child I couldn’t stand cartoons like Tom and Jerry which made their “humorous” point without the use of dialogue. In Iris Kate Winslet has this quote, “Without words, how can one think?” and although I get the sense that cinema is a visual medium I need words in my life. So, it makes sense that when I think of the comedy I’m most drawn to, it centres on wordplay. Enter Woody Allen...

                  
As much as I love Woody, I can watch each of his films and understand why his humour won’t work on everyone. I love it, nonetheless. It’s probably a bit marginalising of me to call him a comedic writer/director but even in his most serious of films he retains that imprudent humour that makes for a wholly irreverent cinematic experience. It’s alleged that Katharine Hepburn was not a fan of him, but I always like to think of what the two would have been like to have one her zany characters in a Woody piece. Imagine Alice Adams lost in Manhattan or Susan Vance squaring off with Annie Hall. Hilarity would ensue, I tell you.
            
I’m a staunch Woody supporter, even if he doesn’t appear as the best comedy on my list of favourites. I’m still wary as to whether or not Gosford Park qualifies as a comedy. It encompasses such a wide gamut of cinematic genres that i can’t call it an exclusive drama, mystery, comedy of manners, ensemble piece or anything really. It just is (brilliant). The Graduate and The Apartment are the next two comedies, and I love Nichols but I rarely think of him in comedy terms and as good as Billy Wilder is I’m not an especially big fan of his. There just seems to be something vaguely kitschy about his work, which isn’t necessarily bad it just doesn’t always work for me (even though I think The Apartment is priceless.)
       
Humour is a funny thing, though (funny, weird). I wouldn’t say that it’s more difficult than drama, but it’s much more subjective. Me, I laugh harder when there’s a darker undertone looming. It’s like that episode of Pushing Daisies when the candy store opens opposite and the guy says that candy tastes that much sweeter with a taste of the bitter. That’s comedy for me.
        
Who are your comedic giants?

2 comments:

TomS said...

I am a big fan of Woody Allen too. His personal travails aside, he explores his most personal concerns and anxieties, and we identify with him and can laugh at ourselves in the bargain. He and Kate could have been an awsome duo.

I actually do like some physical, slapstick humor. It reaches me in a different way, and I think about it AFTER I laugh...

Yojimbo_5 said...

Buster Keaton, contrarily...