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,
On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 3:48 PM, Matt McAllister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi folks,
> One of the all time faves: Inspector Clouseau.
> From The Pink Panther Strikes Again:
> Marty the Mugger: You have several of the world's greatest criminal minds
> right here, in this very room.
> Bruce the Knife: Yeah, why don't we take care of it ourselves?
> Dreyfus: Because you wouldn't stand a chance.
> [Crims murmur disbelief]
> Dreyfus: You don't know Clouseau.
> Tournier (a.k.a. Tony the bank robber): He can't be that good.
> Dreyfus: Good? Ha, he's not good, he's terrible; he's the worst. There's
> not another man like him anywhere in the world. Compared to Clouseau this
> doomsday machine, it's just a mere water pistol.
> Cheers! Matt
> On Dec 13, 2012, at 11:03 PM, Frank, Michael wrote:
> > i have a student who's interested in writing about the incompetent hero
> in american movies, and asked me about such figures in movies from before
> the current century . . . i immediately thought of woody allen but then
> drew a blank . . . can anyone suggest either a movie [or set of movies]
> featuring an incompetent hero, or an actor who regularly played the part of
> the incompetent hero?
> > many thanks
> > mike
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dana Polan
> > Sent: Friday, December 07, 2012 9:11 AM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: [SCREEN-L] critical studies of MacMahonism?
> > Does anyone know a good study (essay or otherwise) of that French
> cinephilia phenomenon known as MacMahonism? I assume there's some material
> in de Baecque's history of its rivals at Cahiers du cinema. And I came
> across a few pages here and there, but I'd love to come across a fuller
> treatment of the phenomenon.
> > ----
> > For past messages, visit the Screen-L Archives:
> > https://listserv.ua.edu/archives/screen-l.html
> > ----
> > Learn to speak like a film/TV professor! Listen to the ScreenLex
> > podcast:
> > http://www.screenlex.org
> Matt McAllister
> Professor of Communications
> Assistant Graduate Program Chair
> 209 Carnegie Bldg.
> Dept. of Film/Video & Media Studies, College of Communications
> Penn State University
> University Park, PA 16802
> 814-863-3322 (office); 814-863-8161 (fax); e-mail: [log in to unmask]
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
For past messages, visit the Screen-L Archives: