THE SCREWBALL COMEDIES OF THE 30s & 40s LIST
DECEMBER 16 2018 - FEBRUARY 17 2019
All lists should be submitted to me, domino harvey,
via PM no later than February 17th
There are varying explanations for what constitutes a “Screwball Comedy.” Here’s my summary of Byrge and Miller’s definition from the earlier Screwball Comedies thread:
And here’s zedz’ simpler and more inclusive definition:domino harvey wrote: ↑Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:22 amThe book offers a four page definition in single space and small type, so I'll summarize as best I can (according to Byrge and Miller):Roger Ryan wrote:As concerning this thread, I have to assume we are following the definition provided by Duane Byrge and Robert Milton Miller in their book "The Screwball Comedy Films: A History and Filmography, 1934-1942" (as Dom notes in the OP)
Common Features of American Screwball Comedies
+ Tied strongly with the New Deal era in which the core films were released and initially consumed
+ Combine "slapstick with sophistication"
+ Central narrative is one of a love story
+ Center on an aggressive female lead, frequently in pursuit of a pliable male lead
+ Much of humor is derived from embarrassment
+ Snowballing improbable events and narrative complications to which the final coupling is seen as the only logical way to find respite from the chaos
+ "Rules, customs, family obligations, [and] romantic rivals" stand in way of eccentric lovers' coupling
+ Subversion of "historic and contemporary class conflicts"
+ Happy ending of coupling of different classes transmits "unifying illusion" to audiences in time of social division
+ Overall attitude that life should be like a child's playtime, with characters driven by "defiant determination" to have fun / a good time regardless of societal or monetary cost
+ Individual self-assertion prized
Perhaps, most broadly of all, Screwball Comedies feature mismatched couples from different walks of life interacting and forming a romantic entanglement despite or perhaps because of all the screwy antics they get into along the way. There are no universally agreed upon perimeters of start and stop end dates, though most critics agree the genre’s heyday was from the mid-30s through the early 40s. For the purposes of this list, any screwball comedies released in the 30s and 40s are eligible. Only American films are eligible.zedz wrote: ↑Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:32 pmTraditionally, and loosely, screwball comedy is considered a special evolution of romantic comedy in which the comic quirks of the supporting cast have been transposed to the romantic leads. If you look at the early Marx Brothers films, you can see that the lunatics have already taken over the asylum, but there's still the phantom limb of the 'straight' romantic leads (that nobody could care less about) existing in the margins of the film. Screwball allowed the leads to be their own comic relief, acting as zany, crazy or stylized as various esteemed character actors had previously. Lots of other characteristics of the genre emerged over time, but that, for me, is the distinctive core idea.
For an exhaustive (though not necessarily complete) list of eligible titles, please consult Screwball Comedies: A Guide and Discussion
POST-40s SECONDARY LIST
You may also submit a secondary list featuring fictional works from 1950 onward that carry on the screwball spirit. These might include obvious referential homages, like What’s Up Doc?, or the sex comedies of the late 50s and early 60s (the Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies, Tall Story, &c), or other comedies that somehow seem indebted to the original lineup. Non-American films can be included on this list only. I am open to allowing TV series to be eligible for this— feel free to discuss in-thread and a final decision will be made and this post updated.
Your primary list of American Screwball Comedies from the 30s and 40s should contain a minimum ten films in ranked order on list, and a maximum of twenty films. You may submit a list with any number between 10-20.
Your secondary list of Screwball Comedies from 1950 onward should contain a minimum five works in ranked order on list, and a maximum of ten works. You may submit a list with any number between 5-10.
EXISTING FORUM DISCUSSIONS
103 The Lady Eve
114 My Man Godfrey
118 Sullivan's Travels
670 To Be or Not to Be
676 I Married a Witch
736 It Happened One Night
742 The Palm Beach Story
1930s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)
1940s List Discussion and Suggestions
the Alternative American Film List
The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)
Arrow: Sullivan's Travels
Astaire & Rogers Collection
The Best Books About Film
Books on Screwball Comedies
Classic Holiday Collections
Defend Your Darlings, You Sad Pandas! (List Projects Vol. 3.0)
Films For Cancer Survivors
Leatherheads (George Clooney, 2008)
Loy & Powell Collection
The Musicals List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)
Nothing Sacred (Wellman, 1937) - who owns it?
The Philadelphia Story
Rosenbaum's The Unquiet American: 50 Transgressive Comedies
She's Funny That Way (Peter Bogdanovich, 2015)
Sissies, Pansies, Fairies, and Other Exotic Fruits
TCM Vault Collection
The Thin Man Collection
Universal Backlot Series / Universal Studio Selections
Warner Brothers Archive Collection
Warner Classic Comedies Collection