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Monday, May 29, 2006

What were the screwball comedies about? The word "screwball" came about in the early 20th century and meant "crazy" or "insane" so the first thing one notices when discussing these films is the fast pacing and frenetic or crazy action. A good example of this is the 1940 entry, "His Girl Friday" starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Another trait is the story line which usually involves the breakup of a romance, as one or both partners decide they can’t stand the other, and gets involved with another person. Usually, through a rough and tumble story, they eventually find that they can’t live without each other after all. The dialogue is almost always sophisticated and slapstick comedy can be involved. Somebody or some thing is usually being laughed at such as in "My Man Godfrey" (1936) where the rich are being skewered during the height of the Depression for their frivolous spending while others starved.

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