A master of verbal humour obsessed with the comic constructions of the silent era, Paul Merton celebrates the gags of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd with expert insight and a fan's enthusiasm.
He outlines the evolution of film comedy from the capers of Mack Sennett to the painstaking precision of the masters.
Chaplin shot 700 takes for a tightrope scene in The Circus, while the crash of a real train in Keaton's The General cost $42,000.
Though Merton describes routines with precision, you pine to see Fatty Arbuckle and Stan and Ollie in action - but that surely was his intention.
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