5.21.2008

p123 Meme

A week ago, I got tagged for the "Page 123" meme that's been rollicking around the interwebs. With the end of the semester and all, I've been unable to get to it until now. So, without further ado...

here are the rules:
  1. Pick up the nearest book.
  2. Open to page 123.
  3. Locate the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the next three sentences on your blog and in so doing...
  5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged me.
The book I grabbed is one I've been longing to read for the last couple months: Acting Hollywood Style by Foster Hirsch. And at the designated point on page 123, we find:
One of the most unmasked of all screen actors, [Charlie Chaplin] is unafraid of incorporating aspects of the childlike and the feminine into his screen persona -- covering his mouth with his hands, he titters and then smiles coyly at the bloke who is to be his opponent in the boxing match in City Lights.
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Though the video clip doesn't seem to include the specific moment to which Hirsch refers, Chaplin's boxing scene does capture some of the same spirit, what I have called Chaplin's "witty daintiness"... Indeed, the quality that Hirsch names is precisely what I find most charismatic about Chaplin. Hirsch continues in a new paragraph:
Stubbornly unmoving, as if frozen against the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, Keaton's Great Stone Face is a seemingly fixed mask. Nothing in that wizened vizage moves -- except the eyes, which shift sideways as they register almost subliminal soundings from his characters' depths.
Check out that last sentence. An artfully composed synthesis of description and analysis, worthy both of Keaton and of an attentive reader. (Where can I learn to do that?) In the meantime, enjoy the "subliminal soundings" of Keaton himself...
click image to be routed to video
He's just so cute!

2 comments:

Dame James Henry said...

OMG, this post totally made my day! I worship Chaplin and Keaton like gods. Not only were they great actors, able to convey the slightest emotion with their eyes, but they were great directors and made so many legendary films. Even their lesser comedies are better than 80% of what was being made during the silent era.

RBurton said...

For the record, you cannot play this with Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke.

"Okay. So long."
"Hey. Hey. James."