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December 1997, Week 1


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Jeremy Butler <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 2 Dec 1997 13:44:07 -0600
text/plain (41 lines)
Forwarded by Jeremy Butler, please direct comments to Dan Gribbin
([log in to unmask]).
--- original message ---
A couple of weeks ago, in reference to "Bean," Jim Marsden made reference
to the French lionization of Jerry Lewis, a topic which raises interesting
questions about the function of humor in different cultures.  While Lewis's
appeal to American audiences in the 50's may well have depended, to a large
extent, on the dynamic between him and Dean Martin, the French may be
responding to an entirely different element in the films from what American
audiences experienced.  The antics of a schlemiel in a postwar American
setting may have been particularly appealing to French audiences, raising
the possibility that humor may gain something in the translation from
culture to culture.  Do any other examples come to mind?  (How popular was
Peter Sellers in England, for example?)   A possible French analogy:  "Les
comperes" played recently on American satellite dish networks, but I have
not, as yet, seen evidence of a sudden upsurge of American interest in
Pierre Richard's comic work.  I've always loved his movies but haven't, up
to now, found many Americans who share that weakness.  Can we look for a
delayed Jerry Lewis effect, here?  Who knows.
Dan Gribbin
  Dan Gribbin  ([log in to unmask])
  Professor of English
  Ferrum College
  Ferrum, Virginia  24088
Jeremy Butler
[log in to unmask]
Telecommunication & Film/University of Alabama/Tuscaloosa/AL
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