Sunday, May 21, 2017
(Movie theme) "Oh there's a creature
From the haunted sea,
And he doesn't
Like you, and he doesn't like me
He bounces up and down in the water
(boing, boing, guitar riff)
And doesn't really do what he oughter"
The experiment: cropping some of my thousand or so Harold Lloyd gifs (most of which I made myself over the thousand or so years I've been in love with him). It was an interesting experiment to remove all the extraneous material from these tiny little ten-second movies, and some worked out better than others. I didn't even think I could crop gifs, in fact I probably couldn't, until the apps or programs or whatever-they-are became more versatile/easier to use. Things that aren't dead-easy aren't in my internet vocabulary.
I ended up with gifs that are extremely tiny, 1/4 the size of most of them. If you blow them up very much, they're too blurry to bother with. In some cases the effect is startling: Harold's face is zoomed in a little too close for comfort. We're not used to seeing him on a screen the size of a postage stamp, but neither are we accustomed to looking so deeply into those expressive and slightly haunted eyes.
Harold's director Hal Roach famously said, "Harold Lloyd was not a comedian. But he was the best actor playing a comedian the world has ever seen." It's true that Harold's was the humour of humiliation, social awkwardness, rejection and pain. How he made humour out of that is anybody's guess. But the other "big two", Chaplin and Keaton, also used pathos and struggle to good effect, and turned it all into laughs. I think it was Jerry Lewis - whom I hate - who said, "Comedy is a man in trouble." About that, I think he had a point.