Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tish-Tash: The Forgotten King of Comedy pt.5

Difficulties with Tashlin as the Auteur

The past few readings of Frank Tashlin’s body of work act merely as a template to determine the consistency of technique and theme throughout the director’s career. While they establish that Tashlin had a well-developed technical style and undercurrent of thematic motifs, there are still several issues that need to be addressed to solidify Tashlin’s status as auteur.

One would be Tashlin’s relationship with Jerry Lewis. The pair worked together on a total of eight films and though it seems clear that the Tashlin/Lewis films are more gag oriented than those directed by Lewis himself, a close comparison and separation of their individual careers is needed.5 Likewise, a thorough appendix on the history of slapstick would be useful in placing Tashlin’s style of topical humor into context.

Much of the readings also centered around connections drawn between Tashlin’s animation work and his feature films. While it is of this author’s opinion that animation is equally as valid as live action in terms of historical significance, the lack of critical attention to animation is quite pressing. Do Tashlin’s animations hold equal weight to his feature films? Can the auteur theory be applied to animated works? These are questions cinema scholars should address.

For those of you interested in reading more about Tashlin's work and his career, I suggest you check out Roger Garcia's anthology of Tashlin essays, simply titled Tashlin. There are a lot of great essays in there, many of which were quoted in these posts, that further expand on Tashlin's style and make a great case for his auteurship (without directly saying so).

And if you don't like to read, just check out his movies! Most are on DVD and readily available on netflix or at the local videostore.

Check out the Tashlin article from the beginning here!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog. Very interesting. Thanks for the great coverage of Tashlin. I'd like to mention two things:

- there is one other book on Tashlin, by Claire Johnston and Paul Willemen published on the occasion of the first Tashlin retrospective at the Edinburgh Film Festival. That was where I saw my first Tashlin films and was totally inspired by Paul Willemen's book. Paul is still one of the greats;

- at long last CAPRICE has been released on DVD. I saw this a couple of times over the years but it's been significantly unavailable. I believe that the Doris Day diptych that Tashlin made i.e. THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT and CAPRICE are right up there and even more underrated than Tashlin's career!

Roger Garcia