This chapter takes the concept of “becoming-child” from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's study of Franz Kafka in order to account for the peculiarity of Harry Langdon's screen persona. The bizarrely babyish acting style of Langdon offers a valuable point of access to one of the fundamental traits of silent screen comedy as a whole: its sustained appeal to immature behaviors and correlative rejection of adult standards of behaviors, as well as the normative sexual roles these tend to enforce. What emerges here is one of the strongest links between slapstick film and the counterculture generation's affirmation of youthful irreverence as an oppositional stance.
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