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Trinity
08-24-2004, 03:26 PM
While the first screwball comedies can be found among the earliest talkies, the genre really flourished with the introduction of the Production Code in 1934 - at a time when a lot of things on screen had to be implied rather than shown or said directly no genre used these restrictions so much to its advantage as screwball comedy. With their subtle innuendos, breakneck-paced dialogue, suave leading men, madcap heiresses and a wide array of kooky characters (and equally important - the elegant Art Deco sets and glamorous get-ups that must have made the Depression Era audiences’ mouth water), I find them to be the most consistently enjoyable type of film. I honestly can’t think of single one that I’ve disliked and only a few that were less than stellar. My Man Godfrey is imo not only the best, but the definitive screwball, in that it has all the essential screwball elements at their top form.

TOP 10 FAVORITE SCREWBALL COMEDIES:

http://www.filmsite.org/posters/myman.gif

1. My Man Godfrey
2. Ninotchka
3. It Happened One Night
4. Ball of Fire
5. Libeled Lady
6. The Thin Man
7. Nothing Sacred
8. The Lady Eve
9. Trouble in Paradise
10. His Girl Friday

Hannibal21
08-24-2004, 04:13 PM
http://www.moderntimes.com/screwball/image/one.jpg

1. It Happened One Night
2. The Lady Eve
3. The Philadelphia Story
4. Brining Up Baby
5. His Girl Friday
6. Woman of the Year
7. Ball of Fire
8. The Awful Truth
9. Adam's Rib
10. My Man Godfrey

MacReady
08-24-2004, 11:55 PM
I lack a top 10 (not much of a screwball comedy fan) but to me the best would be Howard Hawks' Bringing Up Baby.

EDIT: Unless of course Sullivan's Travels count. If so, that's my pick

CyclicNightmare
08-25-2004, 12:19 AM
1. My Man Godfrey
2. Adam's Rib
3. The Awful Truth
4. Ball of Fire
5. Woman of the Year
6. His Girl Friday
7. Bringing Up Baby
8. The Philadelphia Story
9. The Lady Eve
10. It Happened One Night

Trinity
08-25-2004, 02:08 AM
Originally posted by MacReady
I lack a top 10 (not much of a screwball comedy fan) but to me the best would be Howard Hawks' Bringing Up Baby.

EDIT: Unless of course Sullivan's Travels count. If so, that's my pick
I haven't seen it (yet), but I'm sure it fits the bill.

Since My Man Godfrey and Trouble in Paradise are both on Criterion I assume you'll be seeing those too?

syxxpac
08-25-2004, 10:32 AM
Arsenic & Old Lace was enjoyable on a screwy sitcom level.

Those wacky old ladies :p

Does Dr. Strangelove count? It may not be as subtle, but when you get past the deadpan performances, it's essentially Screwball City.

If it does count, that's my choice for numero uno.

MacReady
08-25-2004, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by Trinity
Since My Man Godfrey and Trouble in Paradise are both on Criterion I assume you'll be seeing those too?

Very liekly, but probably towards christmas since I have many very expensive OOP titles I wanna buy on ebay and I only make enough money to buy one of those a month. I also want to buy quite a few other DVDs as well. Sepaking of Criterion, would Preston Sturge's The Lady Eve count as screwball? Haven't seen it, but I might pick up after the heavily entertaining, Sullivan's Travels.

Trinity
08-25-2004, 11:55 AM
syxxpac - re: Dr. Strangelove - I would not consider it a screwball comedy, which is not to say it isn't one, but it just doesn't fit my understanding of the genre. If one takes the dictionary definition of "screwball" then a LOT of movies would fall under it, Strangelove included - but the actual screwball “genre” is defined by more than just frantic, wacky humor - it has a pretty well established set of characters/plots - we're usually talking an urbane/sophisticated/upper class milieu and complicated plots involving misunderstandings, mistaken identities and, almost inevitably, a battle-between-the-sexes scenario. Also, I would consider the pinnacle of the genre to be from 1934 (with the start of rigorous enforcement of the Hays Code) till about 1944 (post-war audiences were more inclined to darker and more realistic movies - hence the burgeoning of noir). Pretty much any comedy I’ve seen from this period fits the description - one exception would be “Hands Across the Table” (1935, 10/10) which I thought was just too grounded and relaxed in its humor to be considered a screwball.

MacReady - re: The Lady Eve - most definitely, one of the very best ones. Can't you just rent Criterions instead of buying them? You're not really blind buying their entire collection, are you? :eek:

A nice site: http://freespace.virgin.net/d.moore1/Donna2/Screwball_Comedy.htm

And since 10 is not nearly enough to list all the really great ones, here's my next ten:

11. To Be Or Not To Be
12. The Palm Beach Story
13. The Talk of the Town
14. The Gay Divorcee (the best musical screwball)
15. The Philadelphia Story
16. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (criminally underrated)
17. I Love You Again
18. Woman of the Year
19. The More the Merrier
20. Twentieth Century

Raging Bull080
08-27-2004, 09:27 AM
I hate to burst up the classic film fest, but There's Something About Mary was pretty fuckin funny. May not be a great movie, but I couldn't stop laughing during it.