The Forgotten: Throttled

  • MUBI
There are two, closely related, yet mutually exclusive mysteries, regarding the output of Keystone, Mack Sennett's comedy factory of the silent age. The first mystery assumes that the films were funny in their day, and poses the question, "Why aren't these films funny now?" The second takes the contrary assumption that the films, for the most part, were never funny, and asks, "Why were they so popular?"

Now that Chaplin's thirty-five surviving Keystone productions have been collected, it will be possible to say, with greater confidence than has been hitherto possible, how somebody as genuinely funny as Chaplin evolved his technique in an environment where, despite continual clowning by swarms of grotesque or goofy comedians of varied but often considerable talent, nothing funny ever seems to happen.

Studying the evolution of Chaplin's genius will be a scientific operation (complicated by some uncertainty about what order the movies were made
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