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.


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Episode credited cast:
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

26 February 1980 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Features Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) See more »


La Boutique Fantastque
Music adapted by Ottorino Respighi from works by Gioachino Rossini
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD? chohenste
Wonderful music jumila
Very disappointed greenbuff
this is now being sold at amazon uk on dvd djbollman
Unseen Footage rfman45
Identify Silent Film Actress In srinathkammadari
Discuss Comedy: A Serious Business (1980) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page