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 1930's screwball comedies - the must see list...

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S.D.
The Subhuman
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PostSubject: 1930's screwball comedies - the must see list...   Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:38 am

Because of the great depression, there were more comedies pumped out by Holllywood than any other decade. People wanted to GET AWAY from their miserable lives...so the popular theme was movies about rich people either being stupid airheads...or getting their just desserts. Didn't matter, as long as the underfed masses could laugh at them.

Because of this, an entire genre arose (screwball), some legendary director's made their first masterpieces (Frank Capra, William Wyler, Ernst Lubitsch, Howard Hawks, etc)...and the romantic comedy genre was born.

Here are the first 3 films, I will follow with more films every couple days till we get to at least 10. Stay tuned for further genres coming soon....


1. The Thin Man (1934) - the modern romantic comedy is born, along with the "hip couple". The surrounding detective story is rather stale, but whenever William Powell & Myrna Loy are on the screen it's still absolute magic. The production code had yet to fully settle in, so the dialogue and situations are borderline risque...and even though the characters sleep in twin beds, the sexual tension is fierce. Shot in 13 days on a shoestring budget, it went on to be an immense hit and inspired 5 (mostly good) sequels.

2. Twentieth Century (1934) - Howard Hawks cranks up the pace to thrash like intensity and let's his actors go completely off-the-rails in this classic "comedy aboard train". John Barrymore gives one of the best comedic performances in history, making people like Nicholas Cage look amazingly tame by comparison. Carole Lombard takes ditzy to new levels in one of her many classic performances from the decade.

3. My Man Godfrey (1935) - William Powell is teamed with Carole Lombard in a genre defining classic. Powell is a homeless man that Carole Lombard "finds" in a scavenger hunt. After realizing her cruelty, she offers him a job as the family butler! Powell ends up being the most normal one of the bunch. Literally EVERY other character in this movie is insane, stark, raving, MAD! There is more nutty improvised dialogue in this movie than in the average 10 modern films. But the movie also manages to sneak in some honest social commentary on the depression amidst the lunacy.
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Akeldama
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PostSubject: Re: 1930's screwball comedies - the must see list...   Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:14 pm

I remember The Thin Man from somewhere but I can't remember...I'll check out all 3 they sound kewl. Good thread.
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S.D.
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PostSubject: Re: 1930's screwball comedies - the must see list...   Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:31 pm

All of the recommendations I make in this thread should be easy to get from Netflix.
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S.D.
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PostSubject: Re: 1930's screwball comedies - the must see list...   Sat May 01, 2010 12:13 am

might as well add another flick, just to entertain myself if nobody else...

4. LIBLED LADY (1936)
starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy & Jean Harlow

With a cast like that, you just can't go wrong. Tracy & Loy are especially effective in their scenes together. The story is utter lunacy. Newspaper reporter prints inflammatory story in the paper when he's drunk...rich heiress sues newspaper...newspaper hires "spy" to infiltrate and get dirt on the heiress, etc. Loy is simply magic as said heiress and Harlow (in one of her best roles) starts out abrasive and ends up loveable without you ever really noticing the change. Powell & Tracy are at each other's throats for the majority of the proceedings, thus much fun for all! Directed with typical late 30's MGM gloss and at a breakneck pace, a must see.
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