By Noël Carroll
In Comedy Incarnate, Noël Carroll surveys the features of Buster Keaton’s special visible type, to bare the designated event of staring at Keaton’s movies. daring and provocative thesis written through one in all America’s most appropriate movie theoristsTakes a special examine the philosophies in the back of Keaton’s styleWeighs visible parts over narrative shape within the research of the Keaton’s workProvides a clean vantage element for research of movie and comedy itself
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Extra info for Comedy Incarnate: Buster Keaton, Physical Humor, and Bodily Coping
It is laughter at a kind of paradigmatic carelessness that fails to heed what is almost literally before the subject’s very eyes. The theme of the dominance of an invariant idea of a situation over the actual variables of the situation continues in the very next gag in the ﬁlm. Here, Johnnie sits in Annabelle’s living room. The two local boys have followed him into Annabelle’s house. Obviously, Johnnie is somewhat disgruntled at the prospect of carrying out his courtship in front of these kids.
Johnnie takes the kerosene headlamp from the front of The General and sprinkles fuel on the ﬁre, carefully dousing every part of the pile. There is a burning torch on top of the tender. Annabelle is up there tossing wood down to Johnnie. Johnnie wends his way around the pile that is opposite the train; Annabelle inadvertently jostles the burning log, knocking it onto the pile, setting it aﬂame. The burning lumber separates Johnnie from the train. Unaware of her accidental arson, Annabelle runs to the cab, presumably to back the train closer to Johnnie.
Keaton cuts back to the medium close-shot of Johnnie looking out of the cab. Again, that forlorn look overcomes him. 26 closes his eyes and, then shocked, he again looks behind himself, but all he sees is the lumber piled high on the tender of The Texas. In this gag, Johnnie’s inattention is certainly more excusable than in many of the other automatism gags in that this gag ﬁnds 42 Themes of The General Johnnie preoccupied by a real emergency. However, the end of the gag, where Johnnie closes his eyes as if to recapture his mental image of affairs again evokes the general theme of preconception versus change.