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screwball vs slapstick


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Comedy is not my primary focus when it comes to movies - although I do love a good one. I'm a bit confused when it comes to some terms, though. What exactly makes screwball, screwball; slapstick, slapstick; and what is exactly the difference. I think I have 'somewhat' of an idea but I can't really put it in words. Like I know that the Marx Bros are slapstick whereas Cary Grant/Ginger Rogers would be screwball - but I can't tell you "why". Thanks for any insight. :-)

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I don't know if I can that much of a help cause I'm about where you are on the subject but I do know that "slapstick comedy" is derived more from physical interactions, real exaggeration of harmless violence. You see alot of slapstick in the road movies with bing and bob. I can't really think of a way to describe Screwball. Just more goofiness in words or actions.

Hope I was of some help at all.

-phoebe

 

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In screwball comedies, nothing really makes much sense. The dialogue is ridiculous (like the oft-quoted voodoo bit in Awful Truth or everything in My Man Godfrey) and the situations are generally against reality. Slapstick is low-brow physical comedy of the kind Mack Sennett and Al Christie used to make. There's a new series of DVDs from Kino that ought to clarify things if you need featuring Charley Chase, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. The set does include Lloyd but I don't like his inclusion in a set called Slapstick Symposium; his comedy was not slapstick.

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Oops. In another thread I noticed I got my wires crossed with Cary Grant movies. What was I thinking? Still, I think The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is latter-day screwball, not quite in the same league as The Awful Truth, but irreverant and improbable nonetheless, which is a hallmark of screwball comedies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think the main difference is that in screwball, the violence and silliness often takes the place of sexual activity between the main characters. The main characters sort of revert 3rd grade, where if a boy likes a girl (or vice versa) he/she picks on them. In a couple of books I've read on the subject, the authors maintain that screwball may have arisen out of the need to circumvent the production code without getting too boring...or having to punish the characters for their sinfulness(yeah, I read a lot LOL) If you think about it, this sort of makes sense--most screwball comedies have a love story as their main plot.

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> I think the main difference is that in screwball, the

> violence and silliness often takes the place of

> sexual activity between the main characters. The main

> characters sort of revert 3rd grade, where if a boy

> likes a girl (or vice versa) he/she picks on them. In

> a couple of books I've read on the subject, the

> authors maintain that screwball may have arisen out

> of the need to circumvent the production code without

> getting too boring...or having to punish the

> characters for their sinfulness(yeah, I read a lot

> LOL) If you think about it, this sort of makes

> sense--most screwball comedies have a love story as

> their main plot.

 

I agree with that completely, and also when I think of slapstick I think of something like the three stooges; entertaining and humorous of course, but not very intellectually challenging or dramatic or sorts.

 

 

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