4 Clowns theatrical poster
|Directed by||Robert Youngson|
|Produced by||Robert Youngson|
|Written by||Robert Youngson|
|Narrated by||Jay Jackson|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
4 Clowns is a 1970 documentary compilation film written and directed by Robert Youngson that studies the golden age of comedy through a compilation of rare silent film footage of the works of Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase and Buster Keaton. This was the last feature film project of producer/director/writer Robert Youngson.
The film is divided into three sections. The first section deals with early silent film works of Laurel and Hardy prior to the two becoming a team as well as their later work as a team. The second section deals with the career of Charlie Chase. The third section deals with Buster Keaton, The film is a compilation of excerpts from some of these actor's more notable projects.
Included in film's excerpts are actors Jean Arthur, Lori Bara, T. Roy Barnes, Bartine Burkett, Rosalind Byrne, Erwin Connelly, Jules Cowles, Doris Deane, Hazel Deane, Ruth Dwyer, Snitz Edwards, Connie Evans, Eugenia Gilbert, Edna Hammon, Marion Harlan, Jean C. Havez, Barbara Kent, Judy King, Frances Raymond, Viola Richard, Constance Talmadge, Pauline Toller, and Billy West.
After Robert Youngson completed 4 Clowns, distribution rights were acquired by 20th Century-Fox in May 1970, and a release date was set. After its 1970 release, the film also aired commercially in the United Kingdom in 1992 and 1995 on Channel Four.
Leonard Maltin stated that the film was one of the best of Robert Youngson's compilations, and as it contained excerpts from "some of the best silent comedy ever", it was "a must for viewers of all ages."
- "Big Comedy Highlights in New Film". The Windsor Star. May 25, 1970. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Pavlides, Dan. "Four Clowns (1970)". Allrovi. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Neibaur, James L. (2010). The Fall of Buster Keaton. Scarecrow Press. p. 212. ISBN 0810876825.
- American Film Institute (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1961-1970, Part 2. University of California Press. p. 368. ISBN 0520209702.
- Maltin, Leonard (2008). Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide. Penguin. p. 484. ISBN 0452289785.
- "Release Date Set". Hartford Courant. May 24, 1970. Retrieved July 20, 2012.(subscription required)
- "4 Clowns". British Film Institute. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Maltin, Leonard (2009). Leonard Maltin's 2010 Movie Guide. Penguin. ISBN 0451227646.