Parody film  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A parody film is a comedy that satirizes other film genres or films. Although the genre is often overlooked, parody films are commonly profitable at the box office.

Contents

Overview

Some genre theorists, following Bakhtin, see parody as a natural development in the life cycle of any genre; this idea has proven especially fruitful for genre film theorists. Such theorists note that Western movies, for example, after the classic stage defined the conventions of the genre, underwent a parody stage, in which those same conventions were ridiculed and critiqued. Because audiences had seen these classic Westerns, they had expectations for any new Westerns, and when these expectations were inverted, the audience laughed.

Perhaps the earliest parody was the 1922 Mud and Sand, a Stan Laurel film that made fun of Rudolph Valentino's film Blood and Sand. Laurel specialized in parodies in the mid-1920s, writing and acting in a number of them. Some were send-ups of popular films, such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—parodied in the comic Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde (1926). Others were spoofs of Broadway plays, such as No, No, Nanette (1925), parodied as Yes, Yes, Nanette (1925). In 1940 Charlie Chaplin created a satirical comedy about Adolf Hitler: The Great Dictator, which followed the first-ever Hollywood parody of the Nazis, the Three Stooges' short subject You Nazty Spy!.

About 20 years later Mel Brooks started his career with a Hitler parody as well. After The Producers (1968) Brooks became one of the most famous film parodists and did spoofs on any kind of film genre. Blazing Saddles (1974) is one of his most popular parodies, and Spaceballs (1987) is still considered by many people to be the best science fiction spoof ever.

The famous British comedy group Monty Python is also famous for its parodies, for example, the King Arthur spoof Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974) or the Jesus satire Life of Brian (1979). In the 1980s there came another team of parodists including David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker. Their most popular films are the Airplane!, Hot Shots! and Naked Gun series.

More recently, parodies have taken on whole film genres at once. One famous film parody is the Scary Movie franchise. Other recent genre parodies include Not Another Teen Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie, and Vampires Suck.


Examples

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Parody film" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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