Screwball Comedies (DVDs)
Annotation:Irene Dunne and Cary Grant play a couple on the brink of divorce who inexplicably find themselves doing everything they can to ruin each other's future romantic prospects. The awful truth is that despite their bickering and misunderstandings, these two are meant for each other. Those used to the suave, sophisticated Cary Grant will enjoy him in this outing, where he first shows off his comedy chops, directed with a light and breezy hand by Leo McCarey.
Annotation:One of the most manic and engaging of all the screwball comedies, Bringing Up Baby careens from one absurd situation to another but keeps you laughing so hard that you cannot help but be charmed. When paleontologist David Huxley (Cary Grant) meets socialite Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn), he is trying to get her aunt to donate a large sum of money to fund his research. But despite his serious nature, he finds himself drawn to the loopy Susan, and drawn into her troubles, chief of which is a tame leopard named Baby.
Annotation:Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) is leaving the newspaper business to settle down to a quiet life, but she doesn't count on stumbling upon the story of a lifetime. She also doesn't count on the tenacity of her ex-boss and ex-husband Walter Burns (Cary Grant) who wants to hang on to his star reporter, but the question is - is it business or personal? This screwball comedy is famous for having some of the fastest, funniest dialogue ever caught on film.
Annotation:Johnny Case (Cary Grant) is a self-made man who is strangely disappointed to learn that his finacée's family is rich. He finds he has much more in common with his future wife's freespirited sister Linda (Katharine Hepburn). When he announces his hopes to quit his job and go on holiday, the family's reaction makes him realize he might have proposed to the wrong sister. Hepburn and Grant have great chemistry, and Grant once again displays his gift for physical comedy.
Annotation:Heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) is on the run from her overprotective father who disapproves of the man she wants to marry. As she stages her sensational, newsmaking escape, she realizes she is helpless in the real world until newspaperman Peter Warne (Clark Gable) comes to her aid. But is he after the biggest story of his career, or is he after Ellie? You won't want their cross-country trip to end in this witty and charming romantic comedy, one of the earliest examples of screwball comedy.
Annotation:When Barbara Stanwyck meets Henry Fonda in The Lady Eve, she is a con artist working a cruise ship with her cardsharp father. Fonda plays Charles Pike, a serious-minded young man who also happens to be the heir to a small fortune. This makes him natural prey for Stanwyck, but much to her surprise she falls for him. Featuring a series of memorable slapstick gags, this is a screwball comedy gem from director Preston Sturges.
Annotation:Impulsive, spoiled socialite Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) picks up homeless man Godfrey (William Powell) as part of a scavenger hunt and decides to keep him, hiring him as the family butler. Irene almost immediately falls for him despite the resistance of her family - and of Godfrey himself. Although the portrait of those living on the edges of society during the Depression is laughable, it is the sympathetically hilarious performance of Lombard as a kooky rich girl that charms.
Annotation:Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn) is about to get married at her family's estate when ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) arrives on the scene. Tracy is appalled when he is soon joined by two tabloid reporters looking to cover her wedding in exchange for the suppression of a scandalous story. When she finds herself in a compromising position with one of these reporters (James Stewart, in a role that won him an Academy Award), she is forced to take a long look at herself.
Annotation:Joel McCrea plays John Sullivan, a Hollywood director tired of making the same old frivolous comedies, who decides he wants to direct a serious film about society's downtrodden masses. He begins researching the plight of the common man at first hand, only to find himself saddled with a rather uncommon woman (Veronica Lake). Soon, what began as an experiment to see how the other half lives becomes unexpectedly real. This note of serious social commentary is typical of director Preston Sturges, whose films strike a harmonious balance between satire and screwball.
Annotation:Nick Charles (William Powell) was a famous detective before he married heiress Nora (Myrna Loy), and she can't help hoping he will get back in the game. Opportunity knocks when an old acquaintance disappears and Nick is reluctantly drawn into the investigation. This melding of screwball comedy and mystery spawned a whole series of films, but the first outing of the twosome (and of course their dog Asta) is arguably the best.
Annotation:When overbearing theatre impresario Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) finally goes too far in his treatment of his big star Lily Garland (Carole Lombard), she flees for Hollywood. As Lily's star rises, Jaffe's is in considerably worse repair, and when they find themselves together on a train, Jaffe pulls out all the stops to try and get Lily back. Consciously overwrought (these are theatre folk, after all), Twentieth Century is fun because of this very excess.
Annotation:The Sycamores are a family of freethinking eccentrics, and when daughter Alice (Jean Arthur) falls for the son (James Stewart) of a conservative banker, it seems like an unlikely match. When they decide to marry, Alice sets the condition that the two families meet, with hilarious results.