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American laughter

New York : St. Martin's Press, 1996.
1995/11/01
1

American laughter Overview

American Laughter demonstrates the immigrant and ethnic vision that informed Hollywood comedies, and by extension American mass culture, of the 1920s and 1930s. Beginning with a pre-history of American comedy that ranges from the Spanish explorers to Moss Hart, the author then discusses the refashioning of slapstick, team, and romantic comedy by an immigrant Hollywood for a predominantly urban, ethnic audience. With observations on more than three hundred films - many of which have never been studied - the three main chapters uncover an unexamined immigrant and ethnic aesthetic in the films of Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and William Powell and Myrna Loy. In the process, Winokur employs a broad range of contemporary concepts in film history and culture studies, while intertwining subjects as diverse as Balkan politics, Art Deco, the Jewish landsmanshaft, psychoanalysis, vaudeville, Sicilian peasant life, orientalism, the stage Irishman, and 'body' criticism. Winokur includes over 50 black and white photos, stills, and reprints of promotional pieces that illustrate and complement his analysis of Hollywood film in the '20s and '30s. From the Marx Brothers to the screwball romance, Mark Winokur looks at the role of immigration and ethnicity on the development of American film comedy. Winokur employs a broad range of new concepts in film history and culture studies, from areas as diverse as Balkan politics, Art Deco, vaudeville, the Jewish lansmanshaft, and body criticism.


American laughter Table Of Content

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Theorizing Ethnicity and Immigration 1
1 Connections between American Literary Humor and Film Comedy 23
2 Charles Chaplin and the Comedy of Transformation 75
3 The Marx Brothers and the Search for the Landsman 125
4 Unlikely Ethnic Heroes: William Powell, Myrna Loy, and the Fantasy of Assimilation 179
5 Conclusion 235
Notes 239
Index 297


American laughter Editorial Reviews

Booknews

Winokur (film studies, Rhodes College, Memphis) looks at the role of immigration and ethnicity in the development of American film comedy. Coverage includes the refashioning of slapstick, team, and romantic comedy by an immigrant Hollywood for a predominantly urban, ethnic audience. The author provides a reading of an the immigrant and ethnic aesthetic in the films of Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and William Powell and Myrna Loy. B&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)


Readers' Reviews


American laughter

Book Info

  • Book Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13: 9780312123420
  • ISBN-10: 0312123426
  • Edition: 1
  • Number of Pages: 304
  • Dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 1.04 (d)
  • Approx Price: $71.75
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