Cover image for Parody as film genre : "never give a saga an even break"
Parody as film genre : "never give a saga an even break"
Gehring, Wes D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxii, 223 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Reading Level:
1430 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1995.9.C55 G426 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Parody is the least appreciated of all film comedy genres and receives little serious attention, even among film fans. This study elevates parody to mainstream significance. A historical overview places the genre in context, and a number of basic parody components, which better define the genre and celebrate its value, are examined. Parody is differentiated from satire, and the two parody types, traditional and reaffirmation, are explained. Chapters study the most spoofed genre in American parody history, the Western; pantheon members of American Film Comedy such as The Marx Brothers, W. C. Fields, Mae West, and Laurel and Hardy; pivotal parody artists, Bob Hope and Woody Allen; Mel Brooks, whose name is often synonymous with parody; and finally, parody in the 1990s. Films discussed include Destry Rides Again (1939), The Road to Utopia (1945), My Favorite Brunette (1947), The Paleface (1948), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974), Hot Shots Part Deux (1993) and Scream (1996).

This examination of parody will appeal to scholars and students of American film and film comedy, as well as those interested in the specific comedians discussed and the Western genre. Gehring's work will also find a place in American pop culture studies and sociological studies of the period from the 1920s to the 1990s. The book is carefully documented and includes a selected bibliography and filmography.

Author Notes

WES D. GEHRING is Professor of Film at Ball State University and Associate Media Editor at USA Today magazine. He is the author of a dozen books, including Screwball Comedy: A Genre of Madcap Romance (Greenwood, 1986), Personality Comedians as Genre (Greenwood, 1997), American Dark Comedy (Greenwood, 1996), Populism and the Capra Legacy (Greenwood, 1995), and Handbook of American Film Genres (Greenwood, 1988) He has also written biographies of W. C. Fields, Charlie Chaplin, The Marx Brothers, and Laurel and Hardy.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

With this title Gehring (Ball State Univ.) fulfills his ambition to cover five distinct categories of film comedy. Following Personality Comedians as Genre (CH, Nov'77), Screwball Comedy (CH, Nov'86), Populism and the Capra Legacy (1995), and American Dark Comedy (CH, Dec'96), this volume probes cinematic spoofs and burlesques, dissecting their laughter without removing the funny bones. Given Gehring's previous work on the genre, one would expect him to play repetitive variations on a theme or (particularly in a book on parody) to echo and mock his own extensive works. In fact, the author keeps his scholarly writing light and immensely readable, interrupting his critical insights with numerous comic bits. He balances his discussion between what he calls the traditional puncturing parodies of Mack Sennett slapstick and Sid Caeser's Your Show of Shows and parodies of reaffirmation that mimic, mock, and adore simultaneously. Using seven basic parody characteristics as a cohering structure, Gehring celebrates the quintessential work of Bob Hope and Mel Brooks (especially Blazing Saddles) and shows how films like Wes Craven's Scream function as entertaining guides to emulated films. Recommended for all readership levels. T. Lindvall; Regent University

Table of Contents

Scott R. Olson
Illustrationsp. ix
Foreword: Puncturing and Reaffirmationp. xi
Prefacep. xvii
Acknowledgmentsp. xxi
1 Parody Overviewp. 1
2 Everyone's Going Westp. 27
3 The Pre-Brooks King of Parody: Bob Hope ... And Disciple Woody Allenp. 87
4 Mel Brooksp. 129
5 Two for the Roadp. 173
6 Epiloguep. 197
Appendix Selected Filmographyp. 201
Selected Bibliographyp. 209
Indexp. 219