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Feature
16 Of Cinema’s Greatest Slapstick Moments
From the pie to the face to the kick to the crotch

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Sometimes dismissed as a lesser form of comedy, slapstick is actually one of the hardest comic mediums to nail, requiring great timing, physical prowess and a good connection with your co-stars to get even the tiniest chortle from the audience. The Farrelly Brothers’ Three Stooges reboot might not give the genre the kickstart it deserves, but it did get us thinking about the high points in slapstick history. Watch and marvel at the sheer insanity of some of these hijinks – and start petitioning your nearest studio to bring them back.

WORDS ALASTAIR PLUMB
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The Cyclone Hilarity

Performer: Buster Keaton
As seen in: Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)
Watch the full movie here

No stuntmen. No special effects. This is the real Buster Keaton being blown along in a hospital bed, narrowing avoiding death-by-falling-house-front and leaning Michael Jackson-style into the wind. The king of physical comedy, Keaton was an unparalleled original and truly one of the greatest actor/director/writers in the history of cinema. Orson Welles even called his 1936 masterpiece, The General, “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made” – something you can safely say is the exact opposite of faint praise.
 

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Your Comments

1 It's hard to hit an Emperor
Best known for his verbal humour, Woody Allen was not above hitting his female lead over the head with a wine bottle. Frequently. Not much of a fan this sort of stuff but the schtick between Boris the famous coward, cousin Sonja and Napoleon in Love and Death had me howling. More

Posted by Gort Junior on Saturday August 25, 2012, 15:20

2 Greatest
I realise that any list is subjective, wo I can for give one glaring omission but two? Not just any two probably the absolute best two. 1) Harold Lloyd - Safety Last - Clock 2) Buster Keaton - Steamboat Bill Jnr - Building. Up your game More

Posted by stevee on Friday August 24, 2012, 21:07

3 RE: 16 great moments, but the greatest
Sorry but best pie fight is in the Great Race! Hey Professor!!! Sad that Weekend at Bernie's didn't make the list :( Also, if we're going to mention TV series suggest Bottom? More

Posted by DanTDavies on Friday August 24, 2012, 18:20

4 16 great moments, but the greatest
Laurel & Hardy Trying to deliver a piano, (they have attempted to do this in several films each one a gem so take your pick), Lee Evans- crutches scene from something about Mary, mous trap scene with Nathan Lane Jeff Daniels- Dumb and Dumber- Diarrhea scene, licking the ice off the ski lift, etc Silent Movies stars Harold Loyd, fatty Arbunkle, keystone cops, list goes on. The one I really disagree with is the rake scene from the Simpsons. Cartoons should not be included, but as they are surley Tom & Jerry should be included before the Sideshow Bob. More

Posted by cornflake180 on Friday August 24, 2012, 14:07

5 The John Goodman/Nic Cage fight...
...from Raising Arizona always had me in stitches. More

Posted by loafroaster on Friday August 24, 2012, 13:47

6 Nice to see Bean
I always thought that the first Bean film is incredibly under-rated, so was very happy to see a scene from the first film mentioned in this list (the second film I agree is awful). More

Posted by TPM007 on Friday August 24, 2012, 12:28

7 WC Fields
Anyone seen the Honest John scene from Six of a Kind? I've shown it to young and old and they've all found it hilarious. More

Posted by parkerd1968 on Thursday August 23, 2012, 23:46

8 chose the wrong Jim Carrey Moment
The restaurant kung fu fight in Dumb and Dumber is better More

Posted by Notmyrealusername on Thursday August 23, 2012, 14:37

9 Might I suggest...The Plank?
The original 1967 version of "The Plank" was a film rather than a TV short and I thought it was fairly well known as a more recent silent movie. Eric Sykes and Tommy Cooper star. Jimmy Edwards, Roy Castle, Graham Stark, Stratford Johns, Jim Dale, Jimmy Tarbuck and Hattie Jacques all feature in minor roles. More

Posted by simonburgess on Thursday August 23, 2012, 13:10

10 No Love for Jackie Chan??
Jackie Chan has had plenty of slapstick moments. The bicycle chase from Project A in partcicular is an homage to the silent comedy greats. More

Posted by JonnyFave on Thursday August 23, 2012, 11:24

11 RE: RE:
L: Evil_Bob Am I the only one who thought that the reason Hedley Lamarr retreated into the toilet was so that he could rub the cream on his face and escape in disguise? o, you're absolutely right. More

Posted by Osric on Thursday August 23, 2012, 09:17

12
The "make 'em laugh" bit from Singin' in the Rain deserves a mention. Well I would call it slapstick anyway! More

Posted by iamatractorboy on Wednesday August 22, 2012, 22:47

13 RE: 16 Of Cinema’s Greatest Slapstick Moments
I guess it shows the paucity of modern examples when the only funny one in the last two decades is a cheat by using a TV show  More

Posted by elab49 on Wednesday August 22, 2012, 19:16

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