Delves into the dynamic start of Hollywood comedy, tracking the life and clowns of one of cinema's foremost pioneers, and uncovering the mystery of one of the screen's legendary relationships - that of Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand, the first great motion picture comedienne.
An Irish-Canadian of impeccably uncomic ancestry, Mack Sennett founded in Hollywood in 1912 the world's first studio devoted to movie comedy alone. For the next 20 years he presided over cinema's most famous and popular clowns - from Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Mabel Normand and Charlie Chaplin, to Ben Turpin, Chester Conklin, Mack Swain, Ford Sterling, Louise Fazenda, Harry Langdon and very many more. Simon Louvish, acclaimed biographer of W. C. Fields, the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy, now delves into the dynamic start of Hollywood comedy, tracking the life and clowns of one of cinema's foremost pioneers, and uncovering the mystery of one of the screen's legendary relationships - that of Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand, the first great motion picture comedienne. Be warned, though: the world of Mack Sennett and his Keystone Studio is not for those who want their entertainment refined, their comedy sweetened and their comedians properly house-trained. This is a tale of pratfalls and slapstick, of lecherous husbands and unfaithful wives, mad lovers, moustache-twirling villains, flirtatious floozies, venal vagabonds - and, of course, the perpetually inkompetent Keystone Kops...
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"Silent movie impresario, Mack Sennett, brought to the screen many celebrated clowns, from Chaplin and Arbuckle to Keaton, Ben Turpin, Harry Langdon, W.C. Fields, and the troubled, madcap Mabel Normand. In "Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett," Simon Louvish blends wit, scholarship and insight in a delectable narrative that ends with a sigh, but remains utterly true to the pratfall-loving spirit of the 'master of fun.'" --Emily W. Leider, author of "Becoming Mae West" and "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" "No one investigates the roots of American film comedy with a livelier spirit than Simon Louvish. "Keystone," a close examination of that sad and funny genius of the silent movies, Mack Sennett, is his latest, and, to my mind, his most delightful." --Stefan Kanfer, author of "Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball" "At last Mack Sennett--a seminal figure in American and world film history--has been rescued from the historical limbo that has been his since about 1933. It's always the pioneers who lay the groundwork for those who follow, and fans of every Laugh Factory from Looney Tunes to "Saturday Night Live" owe Sennett an enormous debt, for which Simon Louvish has generously provided the down payment." --Joe Adamson, author of "Bugs Bunny: Fifty Years and Only One Grey Hare"
About Simon Louvish
Simon Louvish was born in Glasgow in 1947 and misspent his youth growing up in Israel between 1949 and 1968, including a stint as an army cameraman from 1965 to 1967.Having decamped to the London School of Film Technique in 1968, Simon became involved in the production of a series of independent documentary films about apartheid in South Africa, dictatorship in Greece, and general mayhem in Israel-Palestine from 1969 to 1973. He also published a memoir of his Israeli days entitled A Moment of Silence in 1979.Since 1985 Simon has published a series of novels set mainly in the Middle East, including the acclaimed Blok trilogy (The Therapy of Avram Blok, City of Blok and The Last Trump of Avram Blok). His most recent Middle East novel, The Days of Miracles and Wonders, was published in the UK in 1997 by Canongate.Since 1979, he has also been teaching film at the London International Film School and writing for various newspapers and magazines.Simon Louvish is the author of a trilogy of definitive biographies of the great clowns of screen comedy, including Man on the Flying Trapeze (1997), the story of W. C. Fields, Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers (1999), and Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy (2001), all published by Faber & Faber. Further film biographies include Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett(2003), Mae West: It Ain't No Sin (2005), and Cecil B. DeMille and The Golden Calf (2007).
Keystone by Simon Louvish
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Faber & Faber
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