Originally published in 1954, this was the first factual history of comedy films and the men and women who had since 1894 kept us laughing in the cinema. It traces the beginning of comic motion pictures and the pioneer work of Paul, Gaumont, Hepworth, Pathe and Zecca. Then comes the picture palace craze and the success of the early Italian and French comedies and trick films. The work of Al Christie and Mack Sennett in America, and the rise of American films, is fully described, as knockabout gives way to slapstick, and salaries and box-office receipts soar.
Now come Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and all the other bright figures of the Roaring Twenties, with favourites like Buster Keaton and Will Rogers to the fore. The development of sound and its effect on the comedians is explained, and the story comes up to date through the thirties and forties to 1954.
Some of the hundreds of names to whom tribute is paid include Mabel Normand, Larry Semon, Roscoe Arbuckle, Monty Banks, Max Linder, Harry Langdon, Will Hay, the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Fernandel and Alec Guinness. These are only a few of the many whose careers are traced. The book is illustrated by a number of carefully selected photographs, many of which are unique.
This edition, first published in 1968 has been revised but the period it covers remains the same, 1894-1954, sixty years of film humour.
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