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DVD Talk review of 'First Kings of Comedy Collection'

Old 10-24-07, 05:12 AM
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DVD Talk review of 'First Kings of Comedy Collection'

I read John Sinnott's DVD review of First Kings of Comedy Collection at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=31120 and...

Excellent review, John, and you're exactly right: these films by Youngson almost single-handedly kept silent films alive for the general film-going audience back during those critical years of neglect. Just think how many future film historians, writers, and directors were exposed for the very first time to the geniuses of silent comedy through these wonderful compilations (just as one example: watch the slapstick efforts of AIP during the early to mid-60s, and you can see a direct link to Youngson's efforts, including the use of Keaton, whose career rebounded after these compilations came out).

I would imagine quite a few people who work in film archiving and conservation today, were influenced by these films, as well. And to truly understand American film comedy as a whole, you have to start with the silents -- where you can find the beginnings of everything that's out there now.

Terrific review, John!
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Old 10-24-07, 09:12 AM
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Thanks Paul. Youngson certainly had a big impact on silent movies. I can't remember how many early movie buffs have told me that his films were thier introduction to the field. You're absolutely right about Keaton and I have no doubts that Harold Lloyd came up with the idea of releasing compliations of his silent films after seeing Youngson's films. (He released two, Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy (1962) and The Funny Side of Life (1963).)

Right now I'm working on my review of "The Jazz Singer," and I was happy to find an early Youngson short in the bonus section. It's a compilation of early taking films and a lot of fun to watch.
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Old 10-24-07, 09:41 AM
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It's true; just about anybody I grew up with who had even a faint glimmer of recognition for silent comedy, got it first from Youngson's films, which played all the time on local stations looking to fill afternoon and weekend movie slots. Agee may have jump-started serious critical re-evaluation of silent comedy with his Life magazine article, Comedy's Greatest Era, in 1949, but reading about silent comedy and actually seeing it, are two different things. Youngson brought them back again to the general public.

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Old 10-27-07, 07:02 PM
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Beware of the DVD of "When Comedy Was King" on its own. Some no-name company is putting out a DVD while the Genius DVD is from RHI. This double-feature is official, the single-film DVD isn't. However, the same label is putting out an illegal DVD of 30 Years of Fun (the follow-up to these two).

These two are a lot of fun to watch and I'm glad they finally came to DVD. Tasteful presentation with good narration and music, not to mention LOTS of the best clips from silents. Cops and Big Business are the funniest silents ever made. I was ready to convert my VHS tape to DVD-R of the 2nd film...
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