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When Comedy Was King (1960)

A feature-length documentary devoted to the great clowns of silent comedy.





Cast overview, first billed only:
edited from 'Fatty & Mabel Adrift' (archive footage) (as Fatty Arbuckle)
edited from 'Teddy at The throttle' (archive footage)
edited from 'Movie Night' (archive footage) (as Charlie Chase)
edited from 'Cops' (archive footage)
edited from 'A Pair of Tights' (archive footage)
Keystone Kops ...
(archive footage) (as The Keystone Cops)
edited from 'Big Business' (archive footage) (as Laurel)
edited from 'Big Business' (archive footage) (as Hardy)
edited from 'Fatty & Mabel Adrift' (archive footage)
The Sennett Girls ...
edited from 'Yukon Jake' (archive footage)
edited from 'Teddy at the Throttle' (archive footage)
edited from 'Yukon Jake' (archive footage)
edited from 'Super Duper Dyne Lizzies, ' 'The Lion's Whiskers, ' 'Wall Street Blues, ' and' Wandering Willies' (archive footage)


Robert Youngson's affectionate, nostalgic retrospective of the Golden Age of Silent Comedy with special attention to the three acknowledged comic geniuses of the period: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keatonm and Harry Landon. The two major comedy studios of the era, Mack Sennett and Hal Roach, especially Laurel an Hardy, are given credit as the great innovators of slapstick visual comedy. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy is king. (Posters). See more »


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Release Date:

29 March 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Als Lachen Trumpf war  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


At one point, the narrator remarks that a quarter century has passed since the death of Harry Langdon. In fact, he died in December of 1944, just over 15 years before this film was released. See more »


Narrator: [Last lines] So ends our visit to the era of the great silent clowns who mass-produced laughter and sold happiness and who passed into oblivian just before the years when the world needed them the most.
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Edited from The Masquerader (1914) See more »


The Old Grey Mare
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User Reviews

Enjoyable Compilation That Would Also Be a Good Introduction to Silent Comedy
11 February 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This enjoyable compilation of footage from an assortment of well-known silent comedies is fun to watch, and it brings back the feel of an era well worth remembering. It would also work as a good introduction to silent comedy for anyone curious about the era. The narration works well enough for the most part, taking an obviously admiring tone, while trying to convey a feel for the era as well as providing some information.

The silent movie years produced a great many fine, talented screen comedians, each of whom had his or her own particular style. Although it would not be possible to do justice to all of them - or even to mention every worthwhile comic of the era - in a single feature, this collection still does a good job of introducing several of the best-known comedians in some features that illustrate their styles and abilities.

Many silent film fans will already have seen most or all of the features that this compilation highlights, but even so, it can be very enjoyable to see these clips from some of the fine classics of the era, plus footage from some comics who were a cut below the best of their time, but who are still worth remembering.

For those less familiar with silent comedy, the selections provide a look at a fair number of the favorite performers of the era. It would be easy to suggest some other stars who would have been very worthy inclusions (Harold Lloyd, for example), but what there is here certainly provides some good examples. Several of the features chosen are from very funny movies that are worth seeing in their entirety if you have enjoyed the highlights.

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