The Silent Clowns
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Silent Clowns

4.56 of 5 stars 4.56  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  7 reviews
This book is both a scholarly study of silent comedy movies, and an illustrated guide to the major comedians for the general reader. It covers such characters as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Laurel and Hardy.
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published November 1st 1975 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 1975)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 131)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Surreysmum
[These notes were made in 1990:]. Bought as a coffee-table book (and it is certainly well-illustrated), this turns out to be an extremely intelligent piece of film criticism, with the glossy paper and pictures a bonus to the text rather than the other way around. I haven't enjoyed a piece of non-fiction so much in ages. The chapters on Keaton were favourites, of course, but those on Chaplin, Lloyd and the minor comics have given me new handles to appreciate any of the films I may be lucky enough...more
Robert
Walter Kerr was primarily a theater critic, but he loved movies--and especially silent comedies. I met him and had a chance to chat with him at Cinecon 12 in NYC in 1976 [more about cinecon at http://www.cinecon.org]. This is a wonderful introduction to silent screen comedy--the comics who starred in them and the art and aesthetics of the genre.
Part loving tribute, part thoughtful analysis and part sholarly tome (but never dull), Kerr's one film book will stand as his monument after all his thea...more
Kevin
lushest book of silent comedy
James
Oct 01, 2008 James rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Silent Film Comedy
Walter Kerr's "Silent Clowns" is a good overview and starting point into the genre of silent film comedy. His thesis is more analytically-driven than history driven, although Kerr does offer solid historical information about the careers of several comedians.

He also offers thought-provoking insights and theories into the careers and screen personas of the likes of Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, and Langdon.

Kerr's piece isn't flawless. He's rather centric in his praise of the major four comedians(Chapli...more
Evan
Walter Kerr's coffee table-sized book on silent movie comedians has been considered a nearly definitive treatment of the topic for more than 30 years. I lucked into a $25 hardcover first edition at Half Price books (an edition that routinely goes for $50 or more), beautifully preserved in a mylar jacket and begged for it as a Christmas gift two years ago and got it. I look forward to delving into it someday soon...
Becky
May 23, 2012 Becky marked it as to-read
Every time I pass the Friends' books, I see this cool cover. Making a note of it.
Rick
One of the first "grown-up books" I ever owned.
Michele
Michele marked it as to-read
Mar 26, 2014
Kassak
Kassak marked it as to-read
Mar 16, 2014
Austinc
Austinc marked it as to-read
Mar 07, 2014
Judy
Judy marked it as to-read
Feb 19, 2014
Joe Hartenstine
Joe Hartenstine marked it as to-read
Feb 15, 2014
Alexa
Alexa marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2014
Ahmed  Eissa
Ahmed Eissa marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2014
Jools
Jools added it
Jan 25, 2014
James
James marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2014
Jesse
Jesse is currently reading it
Jan 10, 2014
Missy
Missy marked it as to-read
Jan 01, 2014
Tom
Tom marked it as to-read
Dec 10, 2013
Igor De castro
Igor De castro marked it as to-read
Dec 09, 2013
Alyer
Alyer marked it as to-read
Nov 30, 2013
Esteban Santacroce
Esteban Santacroce marked it as to-read
Oct 20, 2013
Elise
Elise marked it as to-read
Oct 04, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Walter Francis Kerr was an American writer and Broadway theater critic. He also was a writer, lyricist, and director of several Broadway musicals.

He became a theater critic for the New York Herald Tribune in 1951, then began writing theater reviews for the New York Times in 1966. He wrote for the New York Times for seventeen years. Kerr won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1978.

In 1990, the old R...more
More about Walter Kerr...
The Decline of Pleasure How Not to Write a Play Tragedy And Comedy Harold Pinter (Essays on Modern Writers) Thirty Plays Hath November: Pain and Pleasure in the Contemporary Theater

Share This Book