S/D, POX: Screwball comedies

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http://www.phillyburbs.com/movieguide/screwball.shtml

Wanting to grow my screwball comedy DVD library, searched for a must-have list and found this one. One columnist's choices, in no order.

1. 'It Happened One Night' (1934)
2. 'My Man Godfrey' (1936)
3. 'His Girl Friday' (1940)
4. 'Bringing Up Baby' (1938)
5. 'The Awful Truth' (1937)
6. 'The Philadelphia Story' (1940)
7. 'Nothing Sacred' (1937)
8. 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' (1941)
9. 'To Be or Not to Be' (1942)
10. 'The Thin Man' (1934)

scampering alpaca, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 17:44 (eleven years ago) link

I'd swap 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' out (Lombard = luminous, characters = not that likable) and 'Nothing Sacred' (nothing against it, haven't seen it yet), and "The Awful Truth" (would be in top 15) and add in three others for my top ten.

1. 'It Happened One Night' (1934)
2. 'My Man Godfrey' (1936)
3. 'His Girl Friday' (1940)
4. 'Bringing Up Baby' (1938)
5. 'To Be or Not to Be' (1942)
6. 'The Thin Man' (1934)
7. 'The Philadelphia Story' (1940)
8. 'The Lady Eve' (1941)
9. 'Ball of Fire' (1941)
10. 'The Palm Beach Story' (1942)

So many others, though: "Twentieth Century", "My Favorite Wife", "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek", etc. Other suggestions? Shelves wouldn't be complete without ______?

scampering alpaca, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 17:46 (eleven years ago) link

in order:

the lady eve
bringing up baby
holiday
his girl friday
sullivan's travels (if it counts)
twentieth century
the awful truth
midnight
it happened one night
ninotchka (even tho lubitsch is too gentle to be screwball)

to be or not to be is terrific but doesn't really seem like screwball to me, any more than modern times or duck soup.

J.D., Wednesday, 19 September 2007 19:39 (eleven years ago) link

I think 'The Lady Eve' and 'The Palm Beach Story' are the only true Sturges screwballs.

and 'The Philadelphia Story'? Still less screwball.

Dr Morbius, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 19:43 (eleven years ago) link

if only Capra had done 'You Can't Take It With You' straight... but he trashed the play. Among stage adaps, 'The Man Who Came to Dinner.'

Dr Morbius, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 19:47 (eleven years ago) link

as far as Powell/Loy goes. I think 'Libeled Lady' (also Tracy, Harlow) comes closer than 'The Thin Man.'

Dr Morbius, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 19:52 (eleven years ago) link

"Libeled Lady" is part of that first screwball box set, isn't it? I should just buy that, and sell the few duplicate DVDs I already have.

And I'm stretching screwball more into the "snappy dialogue" side than the "chaotic plot" to include "The Thin Man" and "The Philadelphia Story" - have no problem not including them in a list.

scampering alpaca, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 21:08 (eleven years ago) link

Hadn't heard of "Midnight". Just put that on hold at the library.

scampering alpaca, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 21:48 (eleven years ago) link

It's Mitchell Leisen, no? The missing link between Lubitsch and Wilder.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 20 September 2007 15:07 (eleven years ago) link

Sturges said he started directing so Mitchell Leisen wouldn't film his scripts.

Dr Morbius, Thursday, 20 September 2007 15:37 (eleven years ago) link

Haha!

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 20 September 2007 15:42 (eleven years ago) link

Leisen also directed Easy Living, which deserves a mention (despite Eddie Arnold).

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 20 September 2007 17:20 (eleven years ago) link

which is one of the P.S. scripts.

Dr Morbius, Friday, 21 September 2007 13:52 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

Leisen essay (retro at Cinematheque Francaise):

http://www.movingimagesource.us/articles/design-for-living-20081023

Dr Morbius, Thursday, 23 October 2008 20:07 (ten years ago) link

three months pass...

so I rewatched Easy Living -- which is far, far more screwball than Sturges-directed films -- and I have to say I found a good bit of it desperate, as much as I like Jean Arthur. Especially the last 20 mins when the dogs, birdcages, Wall St panic, etc are all goin on. Maybe it was Leisen, maybe PS was just riding the trend too hard at that time. My fave actor in it is probably the weary secretary to Edward Arnold.

Dr Morbius, Friday, 30 January 2009 15:56 (ten years ago) link

It's my least favorite of the Leisen comedies. I've never been fond of Arthur or Arnold.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Friday, 30 January 2009 16:02 (ten years ago) link

Midnight, however...

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Friday, 30 January 2009 16:02 (ten years ago) link

two years pass...

2 Gregory La Cava comedies in NY this weekend, Dunne v Colbert -- do I need to see both?

http://m.thelmagazine.com/newyork/rep-pick-she-married-her-boss-and-unifinished-business/Content?oid=2205940

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Friday, 27 January 2012 18:33 (seven years ago) link

two years pass...

best Loy-Powell, maybe Harlow too

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6olwq6z3Yc

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 28 August 2014 01:01 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

watched 'My Man Godfrey' and 'His Girl Friday' last night on TCM. Two of my favorites.

Rosalind Russell is so spectacular, still weird to see Cary Grant outdone in his prime.
Although he is very good as well.

Carole Lombard is genius.

nicky lo-fi, Friday, 12 October 2018 14:10 (nine months ago) link


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