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Hollywood Cavalcade and Selected Shorts

Hollywood Cavalcade
August 9, 2017 - 7:30 pm
author Rob King.

Rob King will sign copies of Hokum! The Early Sound Slapstick Short and Depression-Era Mass Culture beginning at 6:30 p.m.

This screening will be preceded by a talk by Rob King, Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.  His latest history of American screen comedy, Hokum! The Early Sound Slapstick Short and Depression-Era Mass Culture (University of California Press) takes a comprehensive view of short-subject slapstick comedy in the early sound era.  Challenging the received wisdom that sound destroyed the slapstick tradition, King explores the slapstick short’s Depression-era development against a backdrop of changes in film industry practice, comedic tastes and moviegoing culture.  Each chapter is grounded in case studies of comedians and comic teams, including the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Robert Benchley.

Hollywood Cavalcade  (1939)

“‘Hollywood Cavalcade’ is destined to arouse in the hearts and minds of millions of theatre-goers all the glamour and romance of the bygone era of motion pictures...From the days of Keystone Cops...bathing beauties...slapstick mighty modern motion picture is a production which runs the gamut of Hollywood history!” declared the Twentieth-Century Fox program at the film’s premiere in October 1939.  Our travelling companions through this whirlwind Technicolor history are Don Ameche and Alice Faye, who rise together from prop boy and understudy, respectively, to studio magnate and famous star, before his personal demons drive them both apart.  The film’s early scenes during the silent era when movie making “used to be a kind of game” are populated with the slapstick stars of the day—Ben Turpin, Chester Conklin and Buster Keaton—whose unique brand of comedy are cast in a nostalgic glow, as King writes, an “emblem of American cinema’s youth, a cherished object of reminiscence abstracted from its own past.”

35mm, color, 100 min.  Production: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  Distribution: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  Director: Irving Cummings.  Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck.  Screenwriter: Ernest Pascal.  Cinematographer: Allen M. Davey, Ernest Palmer.  Editor: Walter Thompson.  Cast: Alice Faye, Don Ameche, J. Edward Bromberg, Alan Curtis, Stuart Erwin.

Preceded by

Your Technocracy and Mine  (1933)

35mm, b/w, 10 min.  Screenwriter: Robert Benchley.  With: Robert Benchley.

Love and Hisses  (1933)

16mm, b/w, 18 min.  Director: Sam White.  Screenwriter: Ben Holmes.  With: Bobby Clark, Paul McCullough, Ferdinand Munier.

Dora's Dunking Doughnuts  (1933)

35mm, b/w, 20 min.  Director: Harry Edwards.  With: Andy Clyde, Bud Jamison, Ethel Sykes, Shirley Temple.

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