Philadelphia Cinema and Media Seminar Colloquium

Monday, March 2, 2009 - 5:00am


Karen Beckman

Car Wreckers and Home Lovers: The Automobile in Silent Slapstick

Karen Beckman explores the function of the automobile gag through close analysis of Harold Lloyd's Hot Water and Laurel and Hardy's Two Tars. As she traces critical responses to these three very different comedians, she focuses in particular on Lloyd's (a.k.a. "Speedy"'s) association with the tempo of modernity, a contrast to Laurel and Hardy's association with regression, slowness and retardation, qualities which in turn become associated by critics with misogyny and the opposition to domesticity. As Beckman revisits these films and the reception of them, she explores the normative impulse of early film scholarship, and examines the queer potential of slow, stalled, crashing, ad exploding cars.


Cinema Studies Program
209A Fisher-Bennett Hall ⋅ 3340 Walnut Street ⋅ Philadelphia, PA 19104 ⋅ (215) 898-8782