Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 7:30pm
Car Wreckers and Home Lovers

Car Wreckers and Home Lovers: The Automobile in Silent Slapstick
A lecture by Karen Beckman

This talk explores the function of the automobile gag through a close analysis of Harold Lloyd's Hot Water and Laurel and Hardy's Two Tars. As Beckman 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 in contrast to Laurel and Hardy's association with regression, slowness and retardation, qualities which in turn become associated by critics with misogyny and the specter of homosexuality. Revisiting these films and their reception, she explores the normative impulse of early film scholarship, and examines the queer potential of slow, stalled, crashing, and exploding cars.

Karen Beckman is the Jaffe Associate Professor of Film Studies in the History of Art department at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is also the director of the Program in Cinema Studies. She is the author of Vanishing Women: Magic, Film and Feminism (2003), and Crash: Cinema and the Politics of Speed and Stasi (forthcoming, Duke). She is also co-editor with Jean Ma of Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography, and is a co-editor of the MIT journal, Grey Room.

Tickets - $7, available at door.