Excerpt from James Agee’s “Comedy’s Greatest Era”

Posted by Brandy Dean October 2, 2011 1 Comment 629 views

When someone asks me why they should care about Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin or Harold Llyod or silent film in general, I point them to this statement from the great James Agee.

All these people zipped and caromed about the pristine world of the screen as jazzily as a convention of water bugs. Words can hardly suggest how energetically they collided and bounced apart, meeting in full gallop around the house; how hard and how often they fell on their backsides; or with what fantastically adroit clumsiness they got themselves fouled up in folding ladders, garden hoses, tethered animals and each others’ headlong cross-purposes. The gestures were ferociously emphatic; not a line or motion of the body was wasted or inarticulate.

James Agee, “Comedy’s Greatest Era,” Life, September 5, 1949

About Brandy Dean

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films.

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There is 1 Comment

  1. - October 3, 2011
      -   Reply

    Yes…as “jazzily as waterbugs.” That’s exactly, exactly right.

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