Jump to content

 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
speedracer5

Screwball Comediennes

Recommended Posts

At this point I have to note that there hasn't been a SINGLE screwball comedienne who's been mentioned whose performances I don't thoroughly enjoy.  This may be the only category I can think of where such universal love could be possible.

 

But Harlow is still Da Man  Woman! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At this point I have to note that there hasn't been a SINGLE screwball comedienne who's been mentioned whose performances I don't thoroughly enjoy.  This may be the only category I can think of where such universal love could be possible.

 

But Harlow is still Da Man  Woman! :)

How about Eleanor Parker in that film with Fred MacMurray? I forget the title.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about Eleanor Parker in that film with Fred MacMurray? I forget the title.

You mean 1951's A MILLIONAIRE FOR CHRISTY, a late screwball. She is very good, amd very sexy in this. Fluff that it was, It made for a breather amidst all the heavy dramas she was doing.around then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot Maragret Sullavan in both The Moon is Our Home and The Shop Around the Corner.

I wouldn't consider ither of those as "comedies", OR "screwball".  Although, both can be mildly amusing, and this is no way a dispargement of Ms. Sullivan's talent.

 

And, I'll remind y'all AGAIN about JUDY HOLLIDAY

 

 

Sepiatone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't consider ither of those as "comedies", OR "screwball".  Although, both can be mildly amusing, and this is no way a dispargement of Ms. Sullivan's talent.

 

And, I'll remind y'all AGAIN about JUDY HOLLIDAY

 

 

Sepiatone

TSATC is one of my favorite films, but it's not falling-off-your-chair funny. It's more than "mildly" amusing, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't consider ither of those as "comedies", OR "screwball".  Although, both can be mildly amusing, and this is no way a dispargement of Ms. Sullivan's talent.

 

And, I'll remind y'all AGAIN about JUDY HOLLIDAY

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Yea,  Andy and I agree;  Holiday is a great movie. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the movie The Lady is Willing listed as a screwball. Im not sure it is, though it's very cute and features one of the most charming and adorable babies I've ever seen in movies  It's got some elements of screwball--witty dialogue, some goofy physical comedy, a couple who seem unsuited to each other falling in love, but then they throw in the drama bit at the end, which may disqualify it. I did list Shop Around The Corner as a screwball, and it has an attempted suicide at the end, so...

 

What do you all think--if a movie is mostly comedy, with witty dialogue and unlikely love story, yet contains some dramatic elements, is it still a screwball?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never considered a "screwball" comedy to have much of ANYthing in the way of "dramatic elements"   Mostly,  outlandish "situational" comedy is another way to designate them.  And usualy, it seems the, or A, protaganist who clearly seems to be somewhat clueless as to the effects of what they say or do HAS on any given situaton.

 

 

Sepiatone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never considered a "screwball" comedy to have much of ANYthing in the way of "dramatic elements"   Mostly,  outlandish "situational" comedy is another way to designate them.  And usualy, it seems the, or A, protaganist who clearly seems to be somewhat clueless as to the effects of what they say or do HAS on any given situaton.

 

 

Sepiatone

Sepia, I didn't either (well, ok, I did list SATC). That's why I was sort of surprised to find some of these movies listsed as screwballs (like Holiday and Dinner at Eight). Ive also seen movies with no love story at all listed, like the original Front Page, Topper and Arsenic and Old Lace (yes, it has a couple trying to get married in it, but it's not quite the same thing). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the movie The Lady is Willing listed as a screwball. Im not sure it is, though it's very cute and features one of the most charming and adorable babies I've ever seen in movies  It's got some elements of screwball--witty dialogue, some goofy physical comedy, a couple who seem unsuited to each other falling in love, but then they throw in the drama bit at the end, which may disqualify it. I did list Shop Around The Corner as a screwball, and it has an attempted suicide at the end, so...

 

What do you all think--if a movie is mostly comedy, with witty dialogue and unlikely love story, yet contains some dramatic elements, is it still a screwball?

Imho, if.a true screwball had something.dramatic like.a.suicide, it would be played for laughs. I would.not classify THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER.as.a.screwball comedy, rather it is a romantic comedy. Two reasons for this: first TSATC is set in the past (I think), and it is

set in Budapest. I feel that true screwballs are brashly and distinctly American, and in the (then) present. So, SHOP and most other of Lubitsch's sophisticated comedies fall out of the definition of screwball.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too bad Judy Holliday couldn't have been in HOLIDAY.

 

Holliday wouldn't have been nearly as good as Hepburn in Holiday, because her screen persona was so strongly defined as working class bimbo that she wouldn't have had any credibilty as the society girl Linda Seton.  Just as Hepburn would have been completely miscast in Adam's Rib if she been put into Holliday's role, or if she'd played Broderick Crawford's mistress Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday.   Don't underestimate the role of the casting director is making a great film appear to be seamless.  You get a bad casting director and you can wind up with a train wreck like Katharine Hepburn in Spitfire.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holliday wouldn't have been nearly as good as Hepburn in Holiday, because her screen persona was so strongly defined as working class bimbo that she wouldn't have had any credibilty as the society girl Linda Seton.  Just as Hepburn would have been completely miscast in Adam's Rib if she been put into Holliday's role, or if she'd played Broderick Crawford's mistress Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday.   Don't underestimate the role of the casting director is making a great film appear to be seamless.  You get a bad casting director and you can wind up with a train wreck like Katharine Hepburn in Spitfire.

True that. Judy Holliday might not even have worked in a remake of BRINGING UP BABY, despite the seemingly compatible daffiness, because Susan in BUB was an upperclass heiress, something I don't think Holliday could've pulled off with her screen persona.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True that. Judy Holliday might not even have worked in a remake of BRINGING UP BABY, despite the seemingly compatible daffiness, because Susan in BUB was an upperclass heiress, something I don't think Holliday could've pulled off with her screen persona.

Agreed.  Hepburn also had that upper crust New Englander accent which definitely added to her numerous portrayals of high society women.  Holliday had the classic New Yorker accent, which typically isn't present in films about rich people. 

 

I've noticed that screwball comedies tend to involve rich people who are a tad on the eccentric side.  Perhaps films about zany rich people work better than films about zany poor people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holliday wouldn't have been nearly as good as Hepburn in Holiday, because her screen persona was so strongly defined as working class bimbo that she wouldn't have had any credibilty as the society girl Linda Seton.  Just as Hepburn would have been completely miscast in Adam's Rib if she been put into Holliday's role, or if she'd played Broderick Crawford's mistress Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday.   Don't underestimate the role of the casting director is making a great film appear to be seamless.  You get a bad casting director and you can wind up with a train wreck like Katharine Hepburn in Spitfire.

I just said it because of Holliday-Holiday. Get it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then there's Colleen Moore, Dorothy Gish, Alice White, and Bessie Love.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since we are knee-deep in Oscar month- collective enthusiasm for which is near "longtime Public Radio listener during a particularly grueling pledge drive" levels- I thought I'd take a moment to salute

 

a few truly egregious occasions when screwball comedic performances got shafted by L'Award Acadamie for Best Actrisse:

 

1932-1933

Who Won: Katharine Hepburn in Morning Glory

Who should've: Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight

 

It's a curious fact about Hepburn that- of the four Best Actress Oscars she won- two are for two of her outright weakest performances- Guess Who's...? and this. Harlow- who had a really shaky start just a little time before is thrown into an intimidating all-star line up and- while her part is technically supporting- she shines enough that she's the best of the best of the best. I have to add that it's a shame supporting awards were not yet given, because Billie Burke deserved one for Dinner at Eight and/or Christopher Strong.

 

1936

Who Won: Luise Rainer for Eees Fonny: A Huzban'anVife Veeshing Each Hother Vell

Who Should've: Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey

 

First case of highway robbery.

 

1937

Who won: Luise Rainer in The Good Earth

Who should've: Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth.

 

Irene should have pressed charges, but she was too much of a lady.

 

1940

who won- Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle

who should've: Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday

 

1942

who won- Greer Garson in Mrs. Mniver

who should've- Ginger Rogers in The Major and the Minor

 

Hepburn was right when she said "the Oscars are won by all the right people for all the wrong roles."*

 

*I paraphrase.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since we are knee-deep in Oscar month- collective enthusiasm for which is near "longtime Public Radio listener during a particularly grueling pledge drive" levels- I thought I'd take a moment to salute

 

a few truly egregious occasions when screwball comedic performances got shafted by L'Award Acadamie for Best Actrisse:

 

1932-1933

Who Won: Katharine Hepburn in Morning Glory

Who should've: Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight

 

I agree that Harlow should have won that 1933 Oscar, but not for Dinner at Eight.  She was great in that one, and IMO stole the show from the bigger names, but it was a supporting role.

 

But what about Bombshell?  That's arguably the greatest screwball comedy ever, certainly one of the top half dozen, and Harlow wasn't just the lead but the comic force around which the entire movie was focused. 

 

It's a curious fact about Hepburn that- of the four Best Actress Oscars she won- two are for two of her outright weakest performances- Guess Who's...? and this. Harlow- who had a really shaky start just a little time before is thrown into an intimidating all-star line up and- while her part is technically supporting- she shines enough that she's the best of the best of the best. I have to add that it's a shame supporting awards were not yet given, because Billie Burke deserved one for Dinner at Eight and/or Christopher Strong.

 

Hepburn was right when she said "the Oscars are won by all the right people for all the wrong roles."*

 

*I paraphrase.

 

Totally agree with both you and Kate here.  In fact I'd even say that she had at least 4 or 5 performances that surpassed any of those 4 Oscar winners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that Harlow should have won that 1933 Oscar, but not for Dinner at Eight.  She was great in that one, and IMO stole the show from the bigger names, but it was a supporting role.

 

But what about Bombshell?  That's arguably the greatest screwball comedy ever, certainly one of the top half dozen, and Harlow wasn't just the lead but the comic force around which the entire movie was focused. 

 

Totally agree with both you and Kate here.  In fact I'd even say that she had at least 4 or 5 performances that surpassed any of those 4 Oscar winners.

 

one could also mount a viable case for Harlow winning for Red Dust, but I actually stick to giving it to her for Dinner at Eight for a variety of reasons, among them the lack (at the time) of supporting categories; the fact that sometimes a role and a star is so big, it breaks out of the confines of the time and really becomes anything but supporting; and I just have to applaud the fact that Harlow- who only a year before iwas so awful in The Publc Enemy is not just holding her own Wallace Beery (who was an intimidating scene stealer) but she's the one stealing scenes; and in a film with so many STARS, she is the one whose presence dominates.

 

I think Hepburn in The Lion in Winter is as good as she ever was, maybe her best work, it's been too long since I've seen Golden Pond to state how I feel on that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not screwball but Bette Davis should have won for The Letter in 1940. It's arguably her greatest performance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that Harlow should have won that 1933 Oscar, but not for Dinner at Eight.  She was great in that one, and IMO stole the show from the bigger names, but it was a supporting role.

 

But what about Bombshell?  That's arguably the greatest screwball comedy ever, certainly one of the top half dozen, and Harlow wasn't just the lead but the comic force around which the entire movie was focused. 

 

It's a curious fact about Hepburn that- of the four Best Actress Oscars she won- two are for two of her outright weakest performances- Guess Who's...? and this. Harlow- who had a really shaky start just a little time before is thrown into an intimidating all-star line up and- while her part is technically supporting- she shines enough that she's the best of the best of the best. I have to add that it's a shame supporting awards were not yet given, because Billie Burke deserved one for Dinner at Eight and/or Christopher Strong.

 

Hepburn was right when she said "the Oscars are won by all the right people for all the wrong roles."*

 

*I paraphrase.

 

Totally agree with both you and Kate here.  In fact I'd even say that she had at least 4 or 5 performances that surpassed any of those 4 Oscar winners.

I don't think the genre of "screwball" was considered to exist until 1934's TWENTIETH CENTURY.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...