Shopping Cart Link

Wesleyan University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Hardcover add to cart

For Educators

Add exam ebook
Cover image Click for larger image

The Hollywood Comedies of Frank Tashlin
Ethan de Seife

Wesleyan Film

2012 • 272 pp. 53 illus. 6 1/4 x 9 1/4"
Film, TV, Visual Culture / Animation

$35.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7240-0

$27.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7241-7

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Tashlin “was such a master of comedy in both animated shorts and live-action features that one is tempted to wish equally that he had never abandoned animation for the... [continued in Reviews below]”—Fred Patten, Animation World Network (web)

The long-overdue study of an important American filmmaker

Frank Tashlin (1913–1972) was a supremely gifted satirist and visual stylist who made an indelible mark on 1950s Hollywood and American popular culture—first as a talented animator working on Looney Tunes cartoons, then as muse to film stars Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, and Jayne Mansfield. Yet his name is not especially well known today. Long regarded as an anomaly or curiosity, Tashlin is finally given his due in this career-spanning survey. Tashlinesque considers the director’s films in the contexts of Hollywood censorship, animation history, and the development of the genre of comedy in American film, with particular emphasis on the sex, satire, and visual flair that comprised Tashlin’s distinctive artistic and comedic style. Through close readings and pointed analyses of Tashlin’s large and fascinating body of work, Ethan de Seife offers fresh insights into such classic films as Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, The Girl Can’t Help It, Artists and Models, The Disorderly Orderly, and Son of Paleface, as well as numerous Warner Bros. cartoons starring Porky Pig, among others. This is an important rediscovery of a highly unusual and truly hilarious American artist. Includes a complete filmography.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

Tashlin “was such a master of comedy in both animated shorts and live-action features that one is tempted to wish equally that he had never abandoned animation for the live-action features, and that he had started his live-action career sooner without getting sidetracked into animated cartoons. But his live-action directing included the same zany fantasy that made his animation so funny, and was so surreal that it remains unique after fifty years of live-action movies. Tashlin has been the subject of numerous studies in France since 1958, but Tashlinesque is the first American book devoted to his work.”—Fred Patten, Animation World Network (web)

“Frank Tashlin's career is staggering in its scope: He was a comic-book artist for the Los Angeles Times, an animator at Warner Bros. and Disney, a screenwriter, director and producer at Fox, Columbia, and Paramount, and a children's book author. … De Seife's clear, conversational, jargon-free prose style makes this scholarly study accessible for nonacademic readers, and between the stretches of textual analysis are vivid passages of historical narrative.”—Leah Churner, Austin Chronicle

“De Seife presents the reader with a logically structured and lucidly written text which constantly demonstrates author’s erudition and enthusiasm for the subject. Without a single doubt it counts among the best “directorial monographs” I’ve read recently. The text is complemented by many illustrations, a detailed filmography and an index.”—Milan Hain, 25fps

“De Seife moves appreciatively and thoroughly through all phases of the director’s art and career. …(A) very much needed close study of Tashlin’s great contribution to the Hollywood comedy.” —Marilyn Moss, Times Literary Supplement

“De Seife is to be congratulated for his painstaking analysis of Tashlin’s methods.”Charlie Largent, Video WatchDog

“The wild and wacky films of Frank Tashlin epitomized a comic experience of the movies. Now, with trenchant insight, Ethan de Seife gives Tashlin’s zany, imaginative universe the sharp analysis it deserves, proving Tashlin’s centrality to the history of entertainment cinema. A great study of a key director!”—Dana Polan, cinema studies, New York University

“Well, it’s about time! Frank Tashlin, one of America’s greatest yet unheralded comedy geniuses, is rescued from comparative obscurity by Tashlinesque, an admiring chronicle of his influential work from animated cartoons to live action comedy classics.”—Joe Dante, director

“This book on Frank Tashlin is both totally original and highly engaging. The author’s extraordinary attention to Tashlin’s visual design and directorial style makes this a must-read for movie fans and film scholars alike.”—Kevin Heffernan, author of Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business, 1953–1968

ETHAN DE SEIFE is an assistant professor of film studies at Hofstra University. He is the author of This Is Spinal Tap.

Click here for author's website.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:02:11 -0500