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74

Screwball Comedy!
Topic by: underdog
Posted: June 7, 2004 - 1:00 PM PDT
Last Reply: September 2, 2004 - 12:48 AM PDT

author topic: Screwball Comedy!
underdog
post #1  on June 7, 2004 - 1:00 PM PDT  
Here's a handy little space to discuss the films mentioned in Gregg Rickman's Screwball Comedy primer.

Favorites? Films your most eagerly anticipating on DVD? Favorite performers?

My favorite director is still Preston Sturges, but I love a ton of these movies. The two I most wish would come out on DVD are Libeled Lady and Twentieth Century, hands down.

Talk amongst yourselves!

C
ALittlefield
post #2  on June 7, 2004 - 8:28 PM PDT  
Very well written primer..but does THE WOMEN really qualify as a Screwball comedy, since so much of that style seems to rely on the verbal (and sometimes physical) sparring of the male and female leads? Just a thought.
And say,speaking of the brilliant Sturges, when is MIRACLE OF MORGAN CREEK coming out on DVD.
Brockton
post #3  on June 8, 2004 - 1:19 PM PDT  
I've never seen it mentioned as a screwball comedy, but I think The 39 Steps surely must qualify.
underdog
post #4  on June 8, 2004 - 1:58 PM PDT  
> On June 7, 2004 - 8:28 PM PDT ALittlefield wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Very well written primer..but does THE WOMEN really qualify as a Screwball comedy, since so much of that style seems to rely on the verbal (and sometimes physical) sparring of the male and female leads? Just a thought.
> And say,speaking of the brilliant Sturges, when is MIRACLE OF MORGAN CREEK coming out on DVD.
> ---------------------------------

>sigh< Yep, don't get me started on Sturges' DVD situation... very frustrating. He's one of my all-time favorites. I heard rumors that Morgan Creek in particular might be coming out in the next year, but I think they are just that... rumors, at the moment.

And, indeed, I think Gregg was interjecting his own opinion about The Women, as an anomaly in the genre. I could see it argued either way, but agree with you that generally the genre was fueled by male-female battles. But you could also argue that some of the women in The Women are in more male-like roles as far as character dynamics in that one go. But it's definitely not prototypical in all ways.

Anybody see the Coen Bros' Hudsucker Proxy? I remember Jennifer Jason Leigh was totally channeling Rosalind Russell in that one.
underdog
post #5  on June 8, 2004 - 2:00 PM PDT  
> On June 8, 2004 - 1:19 PM PDT Brockton wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I've never seen it mentioned as a screwball comedy, but I think The 39 Steps surely must qualify.
> ---------------------------------

Hmm.. interesting. It does have elements of it doesn't it? Fast-paced, very witty, some male-female romantic tension... But it seems to be more of a hybrid, cross-genre, between screwball, suspense, mystery and... Hitchcock (some consider him a genre all his own).

I've never seen it due to it being relatively hard to find, but have heard that his Mr. and Mrs. Smith was the closest Hitchcock came to true screwball comedy...


Eoliano
post #6  on June 8, 2004 - 2:26 PM PDT  
> I've never seen it due to it being relatively hard to find, but have heard that his Mr. and Mrs. Smith was the closest Hitchcock came to true screwball comedy...

Mr. & Mrs. Smith absolutely qualifies as a screwball comedy, and an underrated one at that.
underdog
post #7  on June 8, 2004 - 3:02 PM PDT  
> On June 8, 2004 - 2:26 PM PDT Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > I've never seen it due to it being relatively hard to find, but have heard that his Mr. and Mrs. Smith was the closest Hitchcock came to true screwball comedy...
>
> Mr. & Mrs. Smith absolutely qualifies as a screwball comedy, and an underrated one at that.
> ---------------------------------

Okay, I'll have to break down and go look for a VHS copy somewhere... I think even that is out of print, but probably still around at various video stores and Amazon stores... So many of his films had great wit, it's not surprising he tried his hand at an out and out screwball comedy.

Why is every Hitch film ever not out on DVD?
Eoliano
post #8  on June 8, 2004 - 4:34 PM PDT  
> So many of his films had great wit, it's not surprising he tried his hand at an out and out screwball comedy.

I think Hitchcock's first stab (pun intended) at romantic comedy was Rich and Strange, but that was so long ago that I can't remember the damned movie. Btw, the last time I saw Mr. & Mrs. Smith was on TMC.

> Why is every Hitch film ever not out on DVD?

It would be one helluva undertaking to try to figure out who owns the DVD rights to Hitchcock's films, and to make matters worse, he frequently switched studios making it seem almost impossible.
Gradalis
post #9  on June 8, 2004 - 6:53 PM PDT  
Rich and Strange [and] Mr. & Mrs. Smith...
Both worthwhile and worthy of investigation. If dear Underdog has missed the pair, consider this a public recommendation!
underdog
post #10  on June 9, 2004 - 10:30 AM PDT  
> On June 8, 2004 - 6:53 PM PDT Gradalis wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Rich and Strange [and] Mr. & Mrs. Smith...
> Both worthwhile and worthy of investigation. If dear Underdog has missed the pair, consider this a public recommendation!
> ---------------------------------

Consider it so! I've actually seen Rich and Strange, and recall it being both... rich and strange (as part of the Hitchcock pantheon). I recall it also being quite fascinating, and although considered a dud upon initial release, Hitch himself was said to like it.

The only "bad" Hitchcock I've ever seen wasn't really that bad, but it was pretty much a dud in my book -- Under Capricorn. Oh, and Jamaica Inn. But other than that, for someone who made some 60 or so films... a pretty good track record.

But back to screwball comedy -- I think Sturges' Hail the Conquering Hero is seriously due for a revival, seems kind of timely to me all of a sudden...

manfarang
post #11  on June 9, 2004 - 11:50 AM PDT  
One of my favorite screwball comedies is a Japanese film - Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald.
underdog
post #12  on June 10, 2004 - 12:19 PM PDT  
> On June 9, 2004 - 11:50 AM PDT manfarang wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> One of my favorite screwball comedies is a Japanese film - Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald.
> ---------------------------------

That's been one of my "queue orphans" for awhile -- I shall move it up given your glowing recommendation. Thanks!

This made me wonder what other foreign-made films could be considered "screwball comedy"?
Eoliano
post #13  on June 10, 2004 - 12:48 PM PDT  
> This made me wonder what other foreign-made films could be considered "screwball comedy"?

Well, Wertmuller's Swept Away readily comes to mind, though it's more screwball than comedy, and an out-dated sociopolitical Punch and Judy fest that mercilessly beats its audience to death. [g]
Eoliano
post #14  on June 10, 2004 - 12:51 PM PDT  
Oh, and Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald has been languishing on my queue forever and ever...
underdog
post #15  on August 24, 2004 - 3:00 PM PDT  
> On June 8, 2004 - 6:53 PM PDT Gradalis wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Rich and Strange [and] Mr. & Mrs. Smith...
> Both worthwhile and worthy of investigation. If dear Underdog has missed the pair, consider this a public recommendation!
> ---------------------------------

Good news! Mr. and Mrs. Smith is coming out on DVD for the first time, in September!

(Along with several other previously unreleased Hitchcock films, including another sleeper favorite of mine Foreign Correspondent, The Wrong Man, and more!)
KPman1
post #16  on September 2, 2004 - 12:48 AM PDT  
It seemed like screwball comedies came back in the 80's. I kind of wish the primer compared them with the older screwball comedies.

When the hell is Bringing Up Baby coming out on a region 1 DVD?

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