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American film comedy and issues of social class in America

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American film comedy and issues of social class in America Issues of the social class have been an important element of American film comedies. Since the silent era until the current day, comedy films tend to focus on many contemporary common social class issues in America. During the silent era of film, the three well known comedians, Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Throughout his films, Chaplin's character is portrayed as a lower-class man, who is trying to climb the social ladder and better his position in society. His dress reflects his attempt to give the appearance of higher social status. His costume has all the elements of a gentleman, however his appearance is ridiculous because the pieces of his suit do not fit together. He wears a bowler hat, and carries a cane, as gentlemen do, but his coat is too tight, his pants are too large, and his shoes are too large - like a clown's. His mustache also gives the impression of an upper-class man, in modern style, but the sophisticated look differs from the long beards of the older, wealthy elite. In his hit film "immigrant" Chaplin plays the role of a European immigrant to America. ...read more.


This is shown in the scene where Ellen and Peter argue over whether or not to get free food from the man whom they were riding with. Lower class status: This lower class is represented by the sick woman on the bus and her son. They used the last of their money for a bus ticket to New York so they have not eaten the whole trip. Again, the lower class is displayed with the innkeeper and his wife. They have to be very careful with who they trust because they can not afford to have freeloaders. In closing, class consciousness evens out because each class shares their knowledge and abilities with the other classes. The marriage between Peter and Ellen represents this joining of the two classes, the upper-class and the working class. Class consciousness and status are shown throughout the film A Night at the Opera. The different class status are seen in the main characters of the film. We are shown that status is very important in accomplishing the things that need to be done. Every character shows his or her class status through their actions and the things that they do. ...read more.


Then there is Harpo who is simply a servant who gets pushed around by everyone. It seems he is always being chased. In the first scene where we are introduced to Harpo, he seems clown-like. He is wearing all of Rudolpho's opera costume's, of which, one is a clown outfit. Rudolpho enters and treats Harpo like an animal- he whips Harpo while chasing him around the room trying to get the costumes back. In addition, Chico and Harpo exhibit their lack of money by the fact that they have to be stowaways to get a ride on the ship to New York. Therefore, from the characters of Chico and Harpo to Groucho to Rudolpho, all class classes are displaced in this film. Also, the film shows how each of the classes influence and affect one another. Patterns between the films: * In each of the films, the male character is of a lower class than the female that he is trying to impress. (Groucho/Mrs.Claypool; Peter Warne/Ellen Andrews; Charlie Chaplin/Mrs. Moneybags) * Conflict between lovers and other characters is motivated by issues involving class differences. * Chaplin and It Happened One Night shows people of an even lower class than the hero, making the hero of a superior status at specific points throughout the film. (Chaplin stealing food for starving street woman, Peter Warne giving money to the boy on the bus) ...read more.

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