The Fun Factory: The Keystone Film Company and the Emergence of Mass Culture / Edition 1

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From its founding in 1912, the short-lived Keystone Film Company-home of the frantic, bumbling Kops and Mack Sennett's Bathing Beauties-made an indelible mark on American popular culture with its high-energy comic shorts. Even as Keystone brought "lowbrow" comic traditions to the screen, the studio also played a key role in reformulating those traditions for a new, cross-class audience. In The Fun Factory, Rob King explores the dimensions of that process, arguing for a new understanding of working-class sensibilities within early cinematic mass culture. Interdisciplinary in its approach, The Fun Factory offers a unique studio history that views the changing politics of early films through the sociology of laughter.
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Editorial Reviews

National Post
“A searching and briskly authoritative history.”
Leonardo Reviews
“[An] ambitious and innovative study [and] an important contribution. . . . A wonderful analysis of the historical and cultural complexity of this key moment of modernity and one of its major industries. [It] should be compulsory to all scholars in the field.”
Screening The Past
“Essential reading for all those film historians not necessarily interested in slapstick comedy.”
Communication Booknotes Quarterly
“This studio history . . . offers insights on the politics of early filmmaking through the sociology of laughter.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520255388
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 12/10/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rob King is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and History at the University of Toronto.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Part I "Satire in Overalls": The Keystone Film Company and Popular Culture

1 "The Fun Factory": Class, Comedy, and Popular Culture, 1912-1914 19

2 "Funny Germans" and "Funny Drunks": Clowns, Class, and Ethnicity at Keystone, 1913-1915 65

3 "The Impossible Attained!" Tillie's Punctured Romance and the Challenge of Feature-Length Slapstick, 1914-1915 105

Part II "More Clever and Less Vulgar": The Keystone Film Company and Mass Culture

4 "Made for the Masses with an Appeal to the Classes": Keystone, the Triangle Film Corporation, and the Failure of Highbrow Film Culture, 1915-1917 143

5 "Uproarious Inventions": Keystone, Modernity, and the Machine, 1915-1917 180

6 From "Diving Venus" to "Bathing Beauties": Reification and Feminine Spectacle, 1916-1917 210

Conclusion 247

Notes 253

Filmography 315

Index 343

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