An article from Matt Barry on Wheeler & Woolsey
http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2012/04/com ... olsey.html
http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2012/04/com ... olsey.html
kndy wrote:An article from Matt Barry on Wheeler & Woolsey
http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2012/04/com ... olsey.html" target="_blank
Native Baltimoron wrote:The article states that W&W "worked well" with George Stevens on Kentucky Kernals(1934) and The Nitwits(1935). A great stroke of luck for them during the team's short career. Stevens knew comedy so well that he could bring coherence to their verbal jabbering, and use the visual aspects of comedy to enhance their performances. I remember watching W&W as a kid on Baltimore TV, and thinking what an unfunny blowhard Woolsey came off as. Groucho was such an unmitigated, smart-ass that kid's could enjoy him. As an adult, Woolsey isn't any funnier, and I still find myself wondering what Bert Wheeler is doing in any film.
westegg wrote: I think Woolsey was more or less a Catlett clone, and Catlett might very well have teamed up with Wheeler if circumstances went differently.
FrankFay wrote:Robert Woolsey wasn't a remarkable comedian in himself, but he had excellent timing and delivery- if you gave him the right material he could get the maximum effect from it. The studios got the idea that he had to be "Funny" so they dressed him in grotesque exaggerated outfits- Wheeler was allowed to look reasonably normal and dapper.
If Woolsey hadn't become half of a team he'd have been another Walter Catlett- their stage roles and careers intersected frequently in the 20's and they played similar fast talking but slightly dim witted types.
gjohnson wrote:westegg wrote: I think Woolsey was more or less a Catlett clone, and Catlett might very well have teamed up with Wheeler if circumstances went differently.
westegg wrote:According to Ed Watz's excellent book on the team (if memory serves) I think Woolsey was more or less a Catlett clone, and Catlett might very well have teamed up with Wheeler if circumstances went differently. Woolsey simply took on the Catlett persona which worked well with Wheeler.
If I'm wrong, all I can say is, "WHHHOA-OH!"
Donald Binks wrote:My opinion of them is that they were essentially a stage act that didn't quite translate to talking pictures. You can sense that anticipation of an audience reaction that is not forthcoming. Of course nowadays you have to look at them too in the period they existed - their patter would now be considered so out-dated it's not funny. Wheeler at least was able to escape the routines to sing and dance.
Ed Watz wrote:Donald Binks wrote:My opinion of them is that they were essentially a stage act that didn't quite translate to talking pictures. You can sense that anticipation of an audience reaction that is not forthcoming. Of course nowadays you have to look at them too in the period they existed - their patter would now be considered so out-dated it's not funny. Wheeler at least was able to escape the routines to sing and dance.
Donald, it sounds as though you're referring to Wheeler & Woolsey's 1930-31 talkies - before the film industry overall got the pacing down right for talkies. From PEACH O'RENO (late 1931) onwards their films are smoother and you don't have the long "stage waits" for laughs to follow. Also W & W stop laughing at themselves around the same time that talkies became more polished, production-wise, while they continued to move away from the stagebound routines. By the time of HOLD 'EM JAIL in 1932 they were making comedies that integrated characterization, snappy dialogue, and visual gags that were accomplished and comparable to the better comedy productions of the era.
Unfortunately the W & W films in public domain HALF SHOT AT SUNRISE, DIXIANA and HOOK LINE & SINKER all date from 1930. The comedy is not that well-written, and the films are technically crude with turgid pacing.
During the 1930s Wheeler & Woolsey were tremendously popular in Australia, in fact they were a huge hit throughout all the UK territories and Ireland. Looking at the comedies of Will Hay, The Crazy Gang, George Formby, etc., and even the later Carry On series, one can see a familial resemblance to the W & W type of humor. Sid James must be related to Bob Woolsey somewhere down the line...
Donald Binks wrote:Perhaps the sense of humour was different throughout the British Empire (with the exception of Canada) where British comedy was much more popular than the American
Donald Binks wrote:
[snip]The later American comedians such as Abbot and Costello (with the exception of "Who's on First") Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis I found completely unfunny - but this is just my opinion.
gjohnson wrote:Gee Ed, if you're going to mention the Mr. Bean features at least start with the TV series, which was filled with imaginative and clever sight gags. The features merely showcased the best of the TV work. Many here don't care for Atkinson's characterization of Mr. Bean but I have great fondness for both the show and the comedian. I applaud his desire to keep visual comedy on the air. Can you imagine trying to sell that concept to our Network suits? That series could had only been produced in England.
entredeuxguerres wrote:After acquiring a 16mm projector in the early '50s, my parents force-fed me a heavy diet of A&C, because (I surmise) those films had been sold as a package deal with the projector. At the ages of 5-6-7, they were amusing, but that effect diminished rapidly. Don't even remember the TV series, but if it competed with any western, there'd have been no contest.
Ed Watz wrote:I really enjoyed Rowan Atkinson's two Mr. Bean features (Johnny English Reborn was also fun) but like the Jacques Tati films they come out years apart. Almost no one is doing genuine comedy anymore. It's almost unfathomable to imagine that at one time the motion picture industry had many great comedians like Atkinson plus writers and directors who knew how to keep making that kind of comedy for the screen, year in, year out.
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