Laughter: The Best Medicine

        Films have many genres that have great historical significance. The genre that I am going to focus on is the genre of comedy. Comedies have been an important part of film history for many years. Comedies have always been a great way for people to escape from the problems in everyday life.

        We watched a few comedies in this course that even today make audiences laugh, One of the comedies we watched was Gold Rush (1924), starring Charlie Chaplin. This movie is an excellent example of comedy during a historical period of America. This movie is about a very serious time in America, the Alaskan gold rush.

        This movie managed to take a very important and upsetting part of our history and make it funny for viewers of many generations. There are many scenes in this movie that are funny for almost anyone watching. The scenes about the harsh winds were made funny by the characters inability to stay still. This of course was one thing that made this time in history so bad. The winds were unbearable to those living through this gold rush.

        Another place in the movie that was funny on film but not in real life was the lack of food that was available to the prospectors of this time. However, this movie managed to also make this aspect humorous. The scenes with Big Jim and the Lone Prospector are extremely funny. They take the desperation of hunger and made it very funny. The scene that sticks out the most is when Big Jim chases the Lone Prospector around the cabin because he thinks he is a chicken. Also another scene that is funny is when they are so hungry they are eating the Lone Prospector's boots.

        Of course at the end of the movie everything is well for Big Jim and the Lone Prospector. They find Big Jim's missing gold, and they split it making both of the prospectors rich and happy--a happy ending to a rather tragic time in American history. The movie keeps us laughing up to the last minutes of the film.

        Another comedy that we watched in this class was Duck Soup starring The Marx Brothers. This movie is not actually about a real historical time, but it does create comedy out of something that could happen. This movie also has many things that could relate to politics today. This movie is very hard to watch and not laugh, which makes it hard to believe that Mussolini would allow people to watch this movie, but the viewers could not laugh. This would have to be near impossible because this movie is so funny.

        This movie is really funny because there are many things in this movie that actually seem as though they could happen today. For example, in the movie, the nut salesman is brought in to serve on the President's cabinet. This is funny because many times today it seems as though we are just picking people off the street for public offices. Also the way the movie depicts the war is much like today. Many people do not treat war as a serious thing. Many nations seem to jump into war over silly thing such as in the movie. In the film they go to war over the love of a lady, which is not really a good reason.

        One last film we watched in this class in the comedy genre was an excerpt from Monty Python's Flying Circus. This was an extremely funny work to watch. Monty Python can keep audiences laughing over and over. This was one comedy we watched in this class that was not from or about American history. This is all British humor. Because of this, not all audiences find it funny. There are some that so not understand this type of comedy because the British do have a different style of humor.

        Even though some people do not understand the humor in Monty Python, there are many who do. This group of scenes is very funny but this type of humoris very dry. One scene that I found particularly funny was in the pharmacy. When thepharmacist did not have something and would take forever getting it was very funny. Anotherthing that made that scene so funny was when the customer pointed out that the pharmacist hadnot gone anywhere but was only standing off camera.

        I also thought that it was funny how the Pythons kept interrupting the show saying they could not do something even though they continued to do so. That is a great example of their dry humor. As I have pointed out in all three of these works, laughter is very important to the genre of comedy. Comedy and laughter can make people happier and make them healthier. That is why many times you hear people say that "Laughter is the best medicine."

Elizabeth Barrett

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