Screwball Summer Supplemental Reading

Hif Girl

In preparation for our Screwball Summer series, we’ve compiled a list of recommended articles on the screwball film genre as well as some articles about individual films from the series.

cineCollage published an article in 2012 defining screwball comedy’s characteristics and its functionality as a style. The page also discusses the origin behind the style in both a film history and American history context, and gives several examples of the performers and filmmakers involved. Films such as HIS GIRL FRIDAY, MY MAN GODFREY, and TROUBLE IN PARADISE are discussed.

The Guardian‘s Al Kennedy frames screwball comedy as bearing an off kilter sense of romanticism mixed with offbeat comedic timing. Giving major credit to the iconic casts of originating screwball comedy, the article focuses on the new view of womanhood that films under this style possess in comparison to standard romantic comedies.

GreenCine’s Gregg Rickman explores the usage of screwball violence in a domestic sphere within this comedy style. In addition to giving credit to the female leads in these films, the article credits Cary Grant as being the only male star to emerge. Films such as HIS GIRL FRIDAY, MY MAN GODFREYTROUBLE IN PARADISE, and THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER are cited.

The Artifice’s Ryan Errington views screwball comedy’s relationship within an American social context. MY MAN GODFREY is highlighted in this political regard. The article also evaluates the role of the wealthy in screwball films, and how their eccentric behavior is often times mocked or framed by humor for Depression era audiences.

Gary at The Midnight Place affirms screwball comedy’s consistent usage of “physical comedy, exaggeratedly zany characters, always focusing on the female lead, and situations that [border] on insanity.” MY MAN GODFREY is noted as “the epitome” of this film style. In addition to discussing the screwball comedy presence on the small screen, the article also highlights the importance of the Depression era audience in screwball’s popularity.

Donald Jellerson and Nathan Anderson at The Cine-Files discuss the screwball classic HIS GIRL FRIDAY and the role of gender opposition, particularly the change in gender roles from the play the filmmaker has adapted.

The New York Times‘s Bosley Crowther’s review of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY from the time of the film’s release.


Jaran Stallbaum Written by: