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us: Screwball comedy films


  • When subdivided by the appropriate geographic, topical and/or form subdivisions, this heading is used for works about screwball comedy films.

  • URI(s)

  • Instance Of

  • Scheme Membership(s)

  • Collection Membership(s)

  • Variants

    • us: Crazy comedy films
    • us: Madcap comedy films
    • us: Madcap romantic comedies
    • us: Oddball comedy films
    • us: Romantic screwball comedy films
    • us: Screwball comedies
    • us: Wacky comedy films
    • us: White telephone comedy films
  • Broader Terms

  • Closely Matching Concepts from Other Schemes

  • Sources

    • found: Work cat.: Byrge, D. The screwball comedy films, c1991.
    • found: Moving image materials : genre terms, 1st ed. (Sophisticated comedies: has scope note: use for fictional works which adopt a light, witty tone to play out a social comedy involving eccentric but lovable characters; epitomized by comedies of the 30's and 40's directed by Hawks, Capra, Lubitsch and Sturges; has UFs: Crazy comedies, Romantic screwball comedies, Screwball comedies, White telephone comedies)
    • found: Phone call to Martha Yee, UCLA film and television archive, April 29, 1991 (the term should be Screwball comedies and this will be changed in a new ed. of the genre terms; Populist comedies (listed as a UF under Sophisticated comedies) are a different genre)
    • found: Konigsberg, I. The complete film dict., 1997 (screwball comedy: A type of film comedy prominent during the 1930s and a product of the Depression period. These films were an escape from reality, offering gay and attractive characters behaving with abandon and freedom in a rich and glamourous world, one filled with eccentric though nonthreatening comic figures; but also presenting a nonvitriolic satire against the idle and not-so-idle rich, often concluded by the successful bonding of a wealthy heroine and a middle-class hero. Significant in these films was a very emancipated view of women, with the heroine behaving as independently and aggressively as the male, if not more so, and demonstrating a good deal of wit and intelligence ... The nature of this comedy is always zany and often chaotic; the nonsense is so consistent and pervasive that it seems to operate with a logical nonlogic of its own.)
    • found: The moving image genre-form guide, via WWW, Jan. 29, 2004 (Screwball comedy: Fictional work in which the plot normally focuses on a comic battle of the sexes between an eccentric, well-to-do female and a generally passive or weak male. They are caught up in a romantic pursuit or patching up a marriage, with romantic love triumphing in the end. The heroine is often the only one aware of romance until the male's resistance is overcome. The characters behave in wacky manner and the dialogue is fast paced and witty. Note: Not necessary to include the term Romance, since that is implied by Screwball comedy; Sophisticated comedy: Fictional work marked by witty and sophisticated dialogue, centering on marital and romantic relationships, and finding humor in the lives and activities of the rich and urbane. Note: Not necessary to include the term Romance, since that is implied by Sophisticated comedy.)
    • found: Lopez, D. Films by genre, c1993 (screwball comedy (crazy comedy, madcap comedy, oddball comedy, romantic comedy, wacky comedy). This type of comedy which emerged in the thirties has been called by various names--oddball comedy, wacky comedy, crazy comedy--but the term screwball comedy is the one which has been most widely accepted. The genre contains many elements already present in sophisticated comedy (q.v.) which antedates it. Screwball comedy differentiates itself from sophisticated comedy by broadening its scope to include among its protagonists not only the well-to-do, but members of the middle and working class. Screwball comedy is characterized by eccentric characters sparked by a fancy to do odd or whimsical things with total nonchalance. These characters are always charming because of their spontaneity and unconcern ... usually involve a couple in a battle-of-the-sexes tug-of-war that has to overcome an initial antagonism arising from their equally spirited dispositions, in order to finally fall in love. The revival of screwball comedy in modern productions is not quite the same, as this is essentially a genre of the thirties ... At times, the term high comedy has been used to group together the sophisticated, screwball, and populist comedy.)
    • found: Sikov, E. Screwball : Hollywood's madcap romantic comedies, c1989.
    • notfound: Random House
  • General Notes

    • When subdivided by the appropriate geographic, topical and/or form subdivisions, this heading is used for works about screwball comedy films.
  • Change Notes

    • 2004-01-29: new
    • 2008-09-25: revised
  • Alternate Formats

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