Publicity photo from Charlie Chaplin's 1921 movie The Kid
Since the very beginning, making audiences laugh has been one of the film industry’s chief box office attractions. Skilled acrobatic comedians like Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Charlie Chaplin were major stars in the silent era, as were their more verbally dexterous talking picture successors the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields. Once movies could talk, comedy exploded. Studios cranked out everything from screwball to romance to social satire to musicals. More recently, new variations such as over-the-top dark comedy and gross-out teen comedy are targeting the youth audience.
Media and communications expert Brian Rose looks at the major highlights of screen comedy over the last 125 years, drawing on more than 40 examples from Hollywood’s funniest films. Prepare to LOL.
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