- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: McFarland; 2nd edition (June 3, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786436913
- ISBN-13: 978-0786436910
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,923,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Harry Langdon: His Life and Films 2nd Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
William Schelly has been chronicling the history of popular culture since the 1960's, beginning with his magazine Sense of Wonder. He has written or edited 14 other books, and is associate editor of the Eisner Award winning magazine Alter Ego. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
original who did not copy comedian Charlie Chaplin or anyone
else. Harry represented an adult innocent and naive character.
While other comedians moved fast, Harry moved slow. He rivaled
Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton being fourth on
the list. But success went to his head, he would not take
directions, he fired his director and writer, and his career
went downhill fast. Yet, he is remembered as an original. He was
in real life as incompetent as his onscreen "baby" character. But
he has left us a legacy of the true innocence of Silent Film
comedy. Worth studying, this is the only book that is a biography
of him. People have forgotten Harry Langdon, but he had worthy
talent and is worth discovering. I would like to see a doll made
of him. He is cute. For me, I enjoy cartooning him. He is easy to
draw. I recommend him.Bought book at Amazon.com
Langdon left home at an early age for a career in vaudeville, which led to a fair amount of fame with his "car-sketch" for twenty years or so, before he signed up with comedy producer Mack Sennett in the mid-1920s and became one of the most acclaimed film comedians of the late silent era. By late 1926, critics compared him to Chaplin. Just two years later, however, audiences seemed to have rather tired of Harry; although he remained a prolific actor until his death in 1944, his days as a superstar were effectively over. Largely due to the memoirs of director Frank Capra, whom Langdon had fired early on in Capra's career, it was long assumed that Langdon was unable to achieve success without the guidance of others. Schelly does not outright deny such charges, as he is critical to Langdon's choices at times, but puts several of Capra's sentiments heavily to question. Indeed, it seems ridiculous that a comedian of Langdon's stature, a vaudeville veteran long before he even entered films, didn't "understand" his own character, as Capra was apt to claim in later years. More likely, in my opinion, Langdon may have reached a creative block at some point and didn't quite manage to find a solution before it was too late.
Although Langdon is most well-known for his work in silents, he actually appeared in more sound films, as the author points out, and these are given as much attention as his triumphs of the 20s. While the book's main focus is Langdon's career, as it should be, we are given insights into his life behind the screen every once in a while as well; especially valuable are the interview excerpts with his third and last wife Mabel. The most telling revelations about Langdon as a person are offered in the last few chapters -- eventually, the comedian seems to have come to terms with the fact that he wasn't a star anymore, instead devoting more time to his family life. The final weeks of Langdon's life make for quite sad reading, as we are told how Harry Jr. went into his father's room, while the latter was in a coma, to tell him that his tenth birthday was coming up.
Capra's (very biased) claims about Langdon have ruled the general view of the comedian for long enough. With William Schelly's book accompanying the superb Langdon DVD-set released by All Day Entertainment/Lobster last year, we are finally allowed a more balanced view of this - yes, I say it! - comic genius.