Saturday, 17 January 2015

Laurel and Hardy

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy created a comedy series, Laurel and Hardy, that was aired during the late 1920's, in the early american cinema. The show was set in black and white, including no sound with dialogue represented with text frames in amongst the scenes. This was due to lack of technology with in this era, and this form of film and projecting it in cinemas was revolutionary for the time. However as technology advanced, sound was included in the later series of the show.

The comedy of the Laurel and Hardy series is emitted from the body language and expressions that the pair portray as the narrative of the storyline starts to unravel, and they soon realise that they have mistook their fortune for something entirely different. For example in one of the episodes, Laurel receives a letter inviting him to collect his fortune left from a distant relative, the catch being that they had to spend a night in the mansion that the relative died in. As the night continues, the plot unveils one of the characters, a man dressed as a woman fortune teller, was slowly trapping one relative at a time, so that he could steal the fortune for himself. At the end of the show, the audience then realised that it had been Hardys dream all along.

The expressions that Laurel makes are iconic for the comedy duo, his expressions paint the predicament of the scenario that they are currently facing. This can be seen in the episode in which Laurel and Hardy are commissioned to move a grand piano to a house that is situated on top of a very steep hill. As the piano travels up the hill, Laurel lets go of the piano and it rolls back down the hill; Laurels expression is one of frustration but also sheer fear of what Hardy will say to him if the piano crashes into something as it races down the steep. The audience have a good idea of what Laurel will do next to save his skin, try to grab the piano in humorous ways. Another example can be seen when Laurel believes that he has done something good and shown Hardy that he can do something on his own, he depicts a smug look on his face as he twists his hat slightly in his hands and looks down at the floor as he awaits Hardys praise, that unfortunately never happens.

The body language is highly emphasised and exaggerated through the use of raising their arms higher or taking longer strides as they act, adding subtle movements such as holding on to their hat as they run, or holding their braces and playing with their tie as they feel embarrassed or praised for their work. These slight movements in their actions help to describe the atmosphere and the personality for the character on the screen. The audience can tell what form of character that Laurel and Hardy are, Laurel being clumsy, lovable but sometimes stupid, and Hardy being too selfish, vain and clever for his own good.

No comments:

Post a Comment