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December 2012, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 18 Dec 2012 10:29:14 -0800
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    the incompetent (male) hero is a genre convention of comedy, in fact.
the ones who initiate the "groundbreaking antihero revolution" (i think
it's schatz, but i am recalling from memory here) are laurel & hardy.

   gloria monti

On Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 7:09 AM, William Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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> Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <
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> Poster:       William Brown <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject:      Re: QUERY: the incompetent hero
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> It is interesting that everyone has reached for comedy... I wonder whether
> the student has been thinking about non-superhero superheroes - as per
> films like Kick-Ass, Special (Specioprin Hydrochloride), and Super... Which
> are comedies of sorts, but also not really...
> For what I wonder is whether an incompetent hero might not be much more
> regular beyond the specialised lampooning of heroism that most of these
> comedies involve... Chaplin, Keaton, Tati, Sellers: each incompetent is in
> fact remarkably talented - physically above all.
> So the film that comes to mind for me is, perhaps surprisingly for some
> people, Goldfinger. Whereas 21st century Bond can do parkour, somersaults
> and superhuman jumping, in Goldfinger (and many early Bonds in general -
> particularly the Roger Moore films), Bond can do nothing. He's got no idea
> what's going on, he keeps fluffing up his invistigations, getting captured
> - and he is each time rescued by others and barely manages to get out of
> any of the scapes himself (electrocuting Oddjob perhaps aside). Here we
> have a hero who is a bit incompetent, basically - and who never quite works
> out what he's supposed to be doing...
> So while incompetent heroes are often comic - the Don Quixote tradition -
> they often are not. And their incompetence can have disastrous consequences
> - the tradition for me here would be someone like Pierre Bezukhov in
> Tolstoy's War and Peace, who attempts to liberate his serfs but basically
> messes it up and arguably causes more harm than good...
> Anyone else think of any incompetent heroes that are not necessarily comic,
> then?

gloria monti, ph.d.
assistant professor
CSUF, fullerton, CA
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