Keeping Quiet is a love-letter to the modern sight-gag on film and television, tracing the history of physical clowning since the advent of sound.
Taking up the story of visual humour where Paul Merton’s Silent Comedy leaves off, Julian Dutton charts the lives and work of all the great comedians who chose to remain silent, from Charlie Chaplin - who was determined to resist the ‘talkies’ - right through to the slapstick of modern-day performers such as Rowan Atkinson, Matt Lucas and Harry Hill. This fascinating chronicle - spanning nine decades - shows how physical comedy, at first overshadowed by dialogue-films in the 1930s, reinvented itself and how this revival was spearheaded by a Frenchman: Jacques Tati.
Julian Dutton draws on his own experience as a comedy writer and performer to give an expert analysis of the screen persona and the comedy style of dozens of the screen’s best-loved performers including Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton, Harpo Marx, Norman Wisdom, Jerry Lewis, Benny Hill, Peter Sellers, Eric Sykes, Ronnie Barker, Marty Feldman - and many more.
This book will appeal both to the serious student of film, television and theatre - including those aspiring to write or perform comedy - and to the general reader and comedy fan.