Hollywood: Season 1, Episode 8

Comedy: A Serious Business (26 Feb. 1980)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
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The art of silent comedy is highlighted with a focus on the work of the four great clowns of the era: Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Harry Langdon.

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Title: Comedy: A Serious Business (26 Feb 1980)

Comedy: A Serious Business (26 Feb 1980) on IMDb 8.6/10

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Episode credited cast:
Himself / Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Harris ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Georgie Harris)
William Hornbeck ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Harvey Parry ...


The art of silent comedy is highlighted in archival footage with a focus on the work of the four great clowns of the era: Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Harry Langdon. The two great comedic producers, Mack Sennett and Hal Roach, are profiled, the latter in an interview. Written by duke1029@aol.com

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Release Date:

26 February 1980 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Features One Week (1920) See more »


La Boutique Fantastque
Music adapted by Ottorino Respighi from works by Gioachino Rossini
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User Reviews

11 October 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I love this Brownlow/Gill series--it is truly amazing, painstakingly made and worth seeing every minute of it. However, this one on the silent comedy greats is rather weak--and seems even weaker when you compare it to the later Brownlow/Gill series on three of the four 'genius' comedy stars it highlights. But before this, the film does an overview of two great comedy producers--Hal Roach and Mack Sennett. Both great men are discussed way too quickly and both deserved less rushed treatment (for example, little, if anything, is told about Sennett's relationship with D.W. Griffith or the latter part of his career when he lost his studio). Also, I had a BIG problem with saying that Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton and Langdon were geniuses. The first three--definitely. But Harry Langdon's films were NEVER in the same league as the other three men--never. The other three were innovators, made some perfect comedies and should be admired today. On the other hand, Langdon never made a great film, made a few excellent films and also made a lot of crap after he left Frank Capra. I do appreciate how they let Capra vent a bit about Langdon and his ego, however. But the man, no matter how talented, never made a film to come near the quality of Chaplin's "The Gold Rush", Keaton's "Our Hospitality" or Lloyd's "The Freshman"--or MANY other films this trio made. Langdon's best was probably "The Strong Man"...good but not genius.

Despite my rant (and I am right about this), I did enjoy the show. I just think they should have stretched this to at least two episodes and omitted Langdon. Or, talked about Langdon and the second-tier comedians like him.

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