Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Headless Farce Man: A Brief Discussion of Decapitation Comedy



A darkly funny scene about a guillotine execution appears in the Carry On Gang's Don't Lose Your Head (1966).

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Decapitation gags were popularized in early films by Georges Méliès.  An example can be found in Méliès' The Four Troublesome Heads (1898).

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But comic decapitation had occurred on stage before Méliès.  In 1867, the popular Hanlon-Lees pantomime troupe presented a sketch called "The Village Barber" in which a barber accidentally cuts off a customer's head and then works diligently to glue the head back into place.

Comic labors to reattach a head can get more gruesome nowadays.  Take, for instance, this clip from Idle Hands (1999).

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More on this subject can be found soon in The Funny Parts.

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