Saturday, January 28, 2012
What are bloopers? Mistakes made by performers or public figures which shatter the illusion that they're attempting to create thereby reminding the audience that all acting and most speechmaking is just bullshit. Usually bloopers involve actors simply forgetting their lines (and then muttering "Goddamit"). Sometimes people simply fall down or become frustrated with an uncooperative prop. And sometimes uncontrollable laughter erupts in a performer for no apparent reason. This last is a very specific form of blooping and it's referred to by the English as "corpsing". I'm not quite sure why the reference to a dead body, but I've heard English actors describe it thusly: it's the moment when two actors staring at each other in mid-scene suddenly realize the absurdity of what they're doing--pretending to be other people and sincerely spouting sentiments which have no true meaning to them outside of the scene.
Peter Sellers was a master of the "corpse" and in some of his outtakes one gets the feeling that he's actually self-inducing the corpse moment as a way of releasing some tension within himself. Viz:
And then there are the good old fashioned line screw-ups (followed by the usual expletive). Here's a reel of that genre of blooper, apparently compiled from Universal films of the 1940's. The only performers I recognize are Robert Cummings, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Elisha Cook, Jr. Does anyone else out there recognize the others?
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 11:03 AM