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Jayo

"Moguls and Movie Stars"

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Just a reminder to people in the Los Angeles area, the travelling exhibit TCM has for this opened yesterday at The Grove and is only here until tomorrow (Saturday). I am going tomorrow and then on to the Academy to see their exhibit of WB photos from the Warner Bros. vaults.

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> {quote:title=Kinokima wrote:}{quote}

> LOL in all seriousness I expect It Happened One Night being used to highlight screwball comedies since that is playing on TCM after Moguls Wed night.

 

With respect, Kinokima, I don't consider *It Happened One Night* to be a screwball comedy at all. Comedy, yes, it's certainly light and has some very funny moments. But isn't "screwball" comedy a very specific type of comedy, characterized by kooky characters (usually female), and zany situations? I do agree with whoever suggested that *Bringing up Baby* was a great example of screwball comedy. It's got a crazy unrealistic set-up, and right until the end the film celebrates the dis-assembling of order. Cary in a lacy negligee, Kate running around in the forest looking for Cary's "bone" (we won't go there), misunderstanding all around. I like this film a lot, I think it's an example of when screwball comedy works.

 

"On the other hand", there's nothing in *It Happened One Night* that couldn't, well, happen. The Claudette Colbert character is stubborn and self-centred, and maybe by running away from her father she's upturning the established order (that is a screwball trait), but she never actually behaves in a way that you can't imagine a character in her position behaving. Nor does Gable. The humour in the film is more gentle, less frantic, than what you get in screwball comedy. I see *It Happened One Night* as much more a romantic comedy (as someone else pointed out) than a screwball comedy.

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Well with respect back Misswonderly I am not the one who decided that It Happened One Night is the first screwball comedy. Now like with Film Noir I am sure there are disagreements on what films fit under the category but I have always seen It Happened One Night referred to as the first. And I have read a few books on the subject. Not that I am saying there is a definite agreement on this either.

 

Twentieth Century might have more screwballish elements but as I said It Happened One Night came slightly before and it took home the Oscars. It was obviously a very influential movie.

 

Now I don't know where the term screwball comedy came from but interestingly enough there is a line in It Happened One Night where Clark Gable is asked if he loves Claudette Colbert & he says "Yes! But don't hold that against me. *I'm a little screwy myself.*"

 

Actually I think It Happened One Night has many of the elements of a screwball comedy. It deals with a female character driving the guy crazy, it deals with the poor VS the rich, it has some fast talking dialog, it involves marriage, it involves two characters who don't like each other at first and so forth.

 

Also I don't think Screwball Comedies necessarily have anything to do with their unrealistic nature. Yes Bringing up Baby is a Screwball Comedy but so is The Awful Truth which I think is a bit less out there. The Awful Truth I love because it has *both* Irene and Cary drive each other crazy but in the end they realize they are the only ones for each other.

 

In fact my favorite definition of a Screwball Comedy is "a sex comedy without the sex." Even though the "Walls of Jericho" fall down at the end of It Happened One Night I still think this statement applies to this film.

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Ok, my mistake, I see what you mean. I also looked up "Screwball comedy" on wikipedia, and , as you stated , it lists *It Happened One Night* as generally regarded as the first screwball comedy". (Not that I didn't take your word for it, I just wanted to research this genre a little more.)

 

I will say, I freely admit that I am fairly ignorant regarding this genre, probably because it's never really been one of my favourites, so I've never been motivated to read much about it. As i've said in other threads, I tend to get irritated by the unrealistic behaviour of the characters. I know, we're just supposed to relax and "go with it"; I guess screwballically speaking, I'm too po-faced for this genre.

 

Also, although I do concede the very good points you made about how IHON contains various features that perfectly fit the screwball genre, it still feels more to me like a romantic comedy (and a very good one at that.)

Several of the elements of screwball comedy that you listed apply equally to romantic comedy .

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Well I am sure there are people who agree with you as well. Like I said in my previous post I feel Screwball Comedy (like Film Noir) is just something that is very hard to pin down and there might not be one agreed upon list of films (and like Film Noir the movies also came out during a specific period of time).

 

I just wanted to point out that I am certainly not the only one that thinks of It Happened One Night as a screwball comedy. But I could also say that perhaps the reason it doesn't seem as screwballish as some later examples is because it is the first and some of the other Screwball Comedy elements might have developed later (in my list of Screwball Elements that IHON has I forgot to mention that Claudette is the *rich heiress* character)

 

Anyways this was one book I really liked that talked about Screwball Comedies

 

http://www.amazon.com/Romantic-Comedy-Hollywood-Lubitsch-Sturges/dp/0306808323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1290208734&sr=8-1

 

And actually do think there is a fine line between romantic comedies and screwball comedies. I guess screwball comedies are a type of romantic comedy. Although I do think they usually focus more on the comedy than the romance.

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> {quote:title=Kinokima wrote:}{quote}

> Well I am sure there are people who agree with you as well. Like I said in my previous post I feel Screwball Comedy (like Film Noir) is just something that is very hard to pin down and there might not be one agreed upon list of films (and like Film Noir the movies also came out during a specific period of time).

>

> I just wanted to point out that I am certainly not the only one that thinks of It Happened One Night as a screwball comedy. But I could also say that perhaps the reason it doesn't seem as screwballish as some later examples is because it is the first and some of the other Screwball Comedy elements might have developed later (in my list of Screwball Elements that IHON has I forgot to mention that Claudette is the *rich heiress* character)

>

> Anyways this was one book I really liked that talked about Screwball Comedies

>

> http://www.amazon.com/Romantic-Comedy-Hollywood-Lubitsch-Sturges/dp/0306808323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1290208734&sr=8-1

>

> And actually do think there is a fine line between romantic comedies and screwball comedies. I guess screwball comedies are a type of romantic comedy. Although I do think they usually focus more on the comedy than the romance.

 

I heartily recommend that James Harvey book on romantic comedy; it's one of my favorite books on classic Hollywood.

 

I am sort of a bit surprised that TCM isn't using "My Man Godfrey" as an illustration of both screwball comedy and themes of film during the Depression (although by 1936, when "Godfrey" was made, the economy had recovered somewhat, save for a brief dip or two; full recovery wouldn't occur until World War II boosted industrial production).

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Maybe because it was allegedly the "first" screwball comedy, they were gently easing their way into the genre, rather than pulling out all stops, the first time out of the box.

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> {quote:title=VP19 wrote:}{quote}

 

> I am sort of a bit surprised that TCM isn't using "My Man Godfrey" as an illustration of both screwball comedy and themes of film during the Depression (although by 1936, when "Godfrey" was made, the economy had recovered somewhat, save for a brief dip or two; full recovery wouldn't occur until World War II boosted industrial production).

 

The inclusion of *It Happened One Night* is used to illustrate Columbia Studios jump from poverty row, not as an example of screwball comedy or a depiction of the Depression era. I think someone just posted this a few posts back. This show is about the studios, not about genres.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> Has there ever been a screwball noir?

 

 

Not that I know of. Would Ball of Fire count? Nah probably not. :)

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> Has there ever been a screwball noir?

 

I should think that would be a contradiction in terms.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Nov 20, 2010 12:30 PM

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VP19 wrote:

 

"...I am sort of a bit surprised that TCM isn't using "My Man Godfrey" as an illustration of both screwball comedy and themes of film during the Depression..."

 

I agree...I think *My Man Godfrey* would be a perfect choice for both of the above.

 

However, I suppose it's because , as JackFavell points out,

"...This show is about the studios, not about genres. " *It Happened One Night* serves the purpose of the series' focus more. Still, IHON is a delightful film; I wish I could go on an exciting road trip with Clark Gable. I wish that I could take an inter-city bus on which everyone sings together . And I wish I had a white blouse with black vertical slanting stripes on it, like the one Claudette sports throughout most of the movie.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Nov 20, 2010 12:38 PM

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Darn...I am down here at the Grove to see the display...its last day...and all the exhibits are covered completely because we have rain on and off today. The people running it here are waiting to see how the weather will go. I really hope it clears because I wanted to see it. Major disappointment if not.

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I don't consider *It Happened One Night* to be a screwball comedy either. But, at any rate *They Just Had to Get Married" was released a year earlier, in 1932. I saw it ages ago, but I recall it being a lot screwier than *IHON*. Unfortunately, its a Universal, so we probably won't be seeing it soon.

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The more we see and hear it seems that the problem with this series came with editing each episode down to 60 minutes. If each episode had been targeted to 75, 90 or 120 minutes the project would have been of much greater value. Just a thought...

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I have a technical type question about this series' segment on silent films, and in fact about silents in general: Does anyone know why sometimes silent movies are not so much black and white, or even sepia-toned, but appear in pinkish or bluish shades? They're still basically b & w, definitely not colour, but instead of black, grey and white, they look somewhat pink, or blue. Sometimes even sort of golden. What's up with that?

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I could be mistaken but I think tinted color scenes were supposed to represent the different times of day or scenarios. Like blue would be night, yellow outside sun, orange inside with the light on and so forth.

 

edit: Found a Wikipedia article on the subject

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_tinting

 

Edited by: Kinokima on Nov 21, 2010 11:41 AM

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Checked out the link -Thanks ! That was really informative, I had no idea they'd done all that stuff with silent films. (silent film stock? )

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This weeks Silent Sunday feature *THE VIKING* tonight was filmed entirely in Two-Color Technicolor, and looks spectacular. Don't forget to tune in for this very rarely shown film. It is not currently available on DVD.

 

 

 

 

 

PaulineStarkADreamyViking.jpg

 

*Pauline Starke-"Dreamy Viking"*

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I am enjoying all the silents tcm has been showing this month, in conjunction with "Moguls and Movie Stars". Well, I shouldn't say "all", that implies that I've seen them all. Let's say I've enjoyed the ones I've watched, and I've recorded the rest. (Sometimes I can't keep up! )

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"...very ditzy femme fatale. " Can you imagine such a character? No, as I said, it would be a contradiction in terms.

Seems like everyone's wanting expand the already very encompassing definition of noir even farther these days.

 

How about "Heidi" as noir?

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