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#123644 - 02/22/04 07:14 PM Body Language
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Is it just me or have you all noticed that a dominating actor's tool now, particularly among female actors, is the nodding head?

I have become so oversensitized to the nodding head whenever our contemporary actors wish to convey their:

"I'm really leveling with you now..."
"This is real; this ain't fake..."

...that I just want to shake them and say,

"For Pete's sake, puh-lease create a new gesture! A new movement! This sincerely nodding head tagged onto the ends of your delivery has turned the lot of you into fuzzy doll dogs in the rear windows of so many cars."

#123645 - 02/22/04 08:24 PM Re: Body Language
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
This phenomenon is particularly noticeable when you watch virtually anything on television--with the sound turned off.

#123646 - 02/23/04 09:13 AM Re: Body Language
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
fuzzy doll dogs in the rear windows of so many cars

Ha!! LLOL!!

#123647 - 02/23/04 09:26 AM Re: Body Language
jheem Offline

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1475
Loc: California
I remember a factoid froma long time ago that women and politicians tend to use the passive voice more than men and non-politicians, mainly because of subject deletion: "Problem X will be solved." By whom? Anyway, I have seen any statistics or a formal write-up of the alleged phenomenon, but women and men I've mentioned it to usually nod their heads in agreement. Kinesthetics and proxemics are interesting adjuncts to anthropological linguistics.

If you're not familiar with the works of Deborah Tannen (at Georgetown U.), either her professional or popular, she covers the differences between feminine and masculine speech in depth.

#123648 - 02/23/04 04:14 PM Re: Body Language
Jenet Offline

Registered: 11/22/03
Posts: 81
And of course it's so fake. You'd be instantly extremely suspicious of anyone who behaved like this in real life. I find it as stylised as the silent-era snarls and terrors, and wonder why nothing a little less crude has percolated through in eighty years of acting.

#123649 - 02/23/04 04:57 PM Re: Body Language
inselpeter Offline

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
<<silent-era snarls>>

Before speakies, actors had to indicate broadly so the audience could follow the story. Perhaps it was the silent clowns who put this limitation of silent film to best use. In fact, with respect to a certain kind of humor, sound has proven limiting--nearly to the point of extermination.

As to television, many of the players are very competent actors and I wonder if this isn't a question of direction--ultimately coming from the executives. Given the very large targeted audience and the variable intelligence of its constituents--as well as of the scripts and scenarios written to entertain them, I would guess this kind of indicating fills the same role it did in the silents.

#123650 - 02/23/04 05:46 PM Variable Body Language
musick Offline
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Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2661
Loc: Chicago
...the same role it did in the silents.

I remember reading somewhere that Chaplin said he could 'no longer make the same movies'(paraphrased), and although "The Great Dictator" (his first "all-talkie") I consider better than (his) average, his silent "skits" show his *skills and the remarkable difference between the two art forms.

#123651 - 02/24/04 08:33 AM Re: Body Language
jheem Offline

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1475
Loc: California
The gestures of silent era actors developed from the 19th century stage where the same kinds of antics (knuckle-biting, back of the hand to the forhead, staggering backwards, etc.) had developed, although accompanied by speech speech. These gestures had more to do with being seen at a distance than anything else. In the last decade of silent films, this style of acting had pretty much calmed down. If you watch dramatic movies from the '20s, you see a style of acting that is pretty close to what was used in the '30s with the early talkies. The strange jerkiness of the silents is an artifact on the projection speed chosen today for silents, many of which were shot hand cranked. Again most of the later silents used electric motors rather than hand cranking and seem as smooth as the early talkies.

In fact, the early talkies had their share of strange rhetorical florishes and mid-Atlantic accents to deal with, and sometimes seem more primitive to modern audiences than silents shot a couple of years earlier.


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