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Examining the evolution of American film comedy since the beginning of the sound era (c. 1930), Christopher Beach focuses on how language, class, and social relationships in early sound comedies by the Marx Brothers, the screwball comedies of the 1930s by Capra, Sturges and others, and 1950s comedies of Frank Tashlin and Vincente Minnelli, and contemporary films by Woody Allen, Whit Stillman, and the Coen brothers. Beach argues that sound and narrative expanded the semiotic and ideological potential of a film, providing moments of genuine social critique and also mass entertainment. Christopher Beach teaches at the University of California, Irvine, and has taught at the University of Montana and Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of three books on American poetry, including Poetic Culture (Northwestern, 1999). This is his first book on film.Read more
- Traces the history of the Hollywood comedy from 1930s to present
- Offers a new, linguistic approach to the study of class
- Includes examinations of films by the Marx brothers, Frank Capra, Woody Allen, and Coen brothers
Reviews & endorsements
"...a solid text that should be appealing to most humorists, film critics, linguists, rhetoricians, educators, and a general public interested in the history of film comedy." - Humor, William B. Covey, Slippery Rock University
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- Date Published: February 2002
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521002097
- length: 252 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 153 x 18 mm
- weight: 0.413kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. A troubled paradise: Utopia and transgression in comedies of the early 1930s
2. Working ladies and forgotten men: class divisions in Romantic comedy, 1934–37
3. 'The split-pea soup and the Succotash': Frank Capra's 1930s comedies and the subject of class
4. Is class necessary?: Preston Sturges and Howard Hawks in the early 1940s
5. Desperately seeking status: class, gender, and social anxiety in postwar Hollywood comedy
6. Is there a class in this text?: Woody Allen and postmodern comedy
7. Yuppies and other strangers: class satire and cultural clash in contemporary film comedy.
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