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April 2021

20th Century (1934) Love & the Screwball Comedy Film Talk Series

Director: Howard Hawks Writers: Charles Bruce Millholland, Ben Hecht Stars: John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connolly A flamboyant Broadway impresario who has fallen on hard times tries to get his former lover, now a Hollywood diva, to return and resurrect his failing career. Howard Hawks' rapid-fire farce Twentieth Century (1934), a comic collision of tempestuous personalities in the rarified world of Broadway, is the proto-screwball comedy. It's a genre born of the depression where the airs of the rich and…

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The Awful Truth (1937) Love & the Screwball Comedy Film Talk Series

Director: Leo McCarey Writers: Viña Delmar, Arthur Richman Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy A married couple files for an amicable divorce, but find it harder to let go of each other than they initially thought. With this 1937 film from director Leo McCarey, the quickly blossoming screwball sub-genre recruited one of its giants: Cary Grant. Before this film, Grant had impressed in supporting roles but had not yet quite hit the big time. The Awful Truth changed all…

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May 2021

The Lady Eve (1941) Love & the Screwball Comedy Film Talk Series

Director: Preston Sturges Writers: Monckton Hoffe, Preston Sturges Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn A lady cardsharp tries to con an eccentric scientist only to fall for him. Let loose to direct his own screenplays with The Great McGinty in 1940 (he sold his script for $1 on condition he sit in the director’s chair himself), Preston Sturges proceeded to skip through seven peerless comedies in five years before his energy finally began to wane. The third of these,…

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What’s Up, Doc? (1972) Love & the Screwball Comedy Film Talk Series

Director: Peter Bogdanovich Writers: Buck Henry, David Newman Stars: Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, Madeline Kahn The accidental mix-up of four identical plaid overnight bags leads to a series of increasingly wild and wacky situations. When Peter Bogdanovich got the opportunity to make a film with Barbra Streisand, who had seen and admired the writer-director's 1971 hit The Last Picture Show, his key idea was to showcase her in a picture inspired by '30s and '40s screwball comedies like Bringing Up…

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