Saturday, 22 October 2011

My Favouritest And My Best: Screwball Comedy Characters Part 1

{I've named this post "Part 1" because I might see more screwball comedies and want to add to my list. Plus, there are way too many to list all in one go :-D}

{My Badge :-D}

I have recently grown to like to screwball comedies. I don't like all of them, but some of them are really funny. The thing that strikes me is, that the main component of a screwball comedy is the characters. Put them in any situation you want, but the characters need to be really intriguing or interesting for the story to work. Therefore, the actors playing them need to be able to pull their weight. Believe me. Put a bad actor in even a good screwball comedy and everyone in the audience will squirm in their seats. It makes the whole thing awkward. I've written about some of these as couples, because I love them both and they are both awesome together. I need to do one about favourite screwball comedy animals soon... Asta anyone? But I've given it some thought and here are my favourite characters as they were performed by the actor, in the screwball comedies I've seen - in no particular order.

Susan Vance and Doctor David Huxley played by Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant respectively in Bringing Up Baby 1938

{Scanned by me}

Susan Vance is the sweet, troublemaking, ditzy heiress-female lead of Howard Hawks's comedy about a girl who gets a leopard in the post and drags her new paleontologist acquaintance into taking it to her farm in Connecticut on the day he is meant to be getting married. Add to this a pre-historic dinosaur bone and a playful dog and you have a fantastic screwball comedy! I just adore Susan. Whenever I trip over a coffe table, or spill something or lose something important I just think to myself, that was so Susan Vance. Katharine Hepburn plays her wonderfully as well and she more than holds her own against Cary Grant. Oh yeah, and she deals pretty well with the leopard.

Cary Grant on the other hand...

Well, lets just say, he and the cat weren't the best of friends. He was so scared of the leopard that - according to legend - the cast and crew threw a stuffed leopard through the air-shaft of his dressing room and he ran out as fast as lightening :-D. I love Doctor David Huxley. Geek specs and all. Cary Grant is absolutely crazy in this role, and you just have to love him for it, because in the end you know the result will be fantastic. I shall remain a Cary Grant fan 'till the end. He is my favouritest and my best of everything... Ever. If only all paleontologists were as amazing as Doctor Huxely.
*Weeps silently to self over the insanely awesome fantasticness of Cary Grant in geek gear*.

Peter Warne played by Clark Gable in It Happened One Night 1934

I love Clark Gable. I mean, who doesn't really? And he is so funny in this film, the classic Frank Capra directed rom-com. Peter Warne is a journalist who finds the runaway heiress everyone is looking out for (always an heiress involved) and offers to help her get back to her husband who her father disapproves of - if she'll give him a story. One of my all time favourite scenes in any comedy is Clark Gable's stupendous hitch-hiking scene which goes from teaching Claudette Colbert the rules of hitchhiking to  running through all of his hitch-hiking techniques in a row to attract several hundred cars that all pass by at once. It's hilarious and his whole performance is great too

Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby played by Jean Arthur and James Stewart respectively in You Can't Take It With You 1938

I had to pair these as a joint favourite because it has to be the "rat with hair on it" scene that swayed me.

  You Can't Take It With You is a film about an eccentric family with a daughter who decides she wants to marry Tony Kirby, the only interesting member of a boring banking family. But what will happen when the two families meet? Jean Arthur and James Stewart work so well together. I adore them in this, and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Jean Arthur is always so lively and James Stewart is playing one of his awesome characters of the Macaulay Connor variety where he gets to go absolutely bonkers. This time in a restaurant. It is seriously hilarious.


Capt. Henri Rochard played by Cary Grant in I Was A Male War Bride 1949

I Was A Male War Bride is the story of the French army officer Henri Rochard who is always being teamed with Lt Catherine Gates, much to his dismay. They don't get along at first but then find that they love each other and want to get married. But Catherine realises that she has to be shipped back to the US, and the only way for Henri to come with her is for him to get a visa as a "War Bride". It's actually too funny for words. everyone says that their favourite scene from this movie is when Cary Grant dresses as a woman to get across to the US, but my favourite is when he gets stuck in Ann Sheridan's room after he has massaged her to sleep (sounds weird out of context but believe me it is hysterical). Cary Grant is so great at physical "clowning". There isn't a moment when you can't see that he is really thinking about his movements. Such a funny film.

Irene Bullock played by Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey 1936

Irene Bullock finds Godfrey living on a city dump in the great depression while she is on a scavenger hunt (upper class style... they have to find a "forgotten man"!). He likes Irene, but hates her sister Cornelia and pushes her into a pile of rubbish and lets Irene take him to the scavenger hunt head quarters so she will win. But Irene starts falling for Godfrey and hires him as their butler. I'd never seen any Carole Lombard films before (I know, shock horror), and I loved her in this film! She's hilarious with William Powell - who even on his own is pretty darn awesome - and I love this film. Afterwards I was a bit like, "Whoa. That was crazy." But then I realised that it was not only crazy, but REALY GOOD TOO! All I have to say is, "GODFREY LOVES ME! HE PUT ME IN THE SHOWER!"

So there is Part 1. There will be a Part 2 following sometime in the future. I hope you enjoyed this post!

By the by, I got braces on my teeth the other day and they hurt for the first day or two. Ouch! But it reminded me of this really sweet scene in My Favourite Wife (1940) with Irene Dunne, so I hit photoshop and made a graphic for it! Hope you like it :-)

{My graphic, love Irene Dunne!}



monty said...

Awesome idea for a post and excellent characters you have chosen Bette. I can't wait for part 2. I hope to see Jerry and Lucy Warriner from The Awful Truth

Anonymous said...

My Man Godfrey is the craziest movie ever made. "You're upsetting Carlo!" I love it and its randomness so much. I second the post above--I want to see the Warriners and Mr. Smith!

Page said...

Perfect choices for your 'screwball comedy' post. Bringing Up Baby is my favorite comedy and of course Cary Grant is my favorite actor. I've seen BUB so many times I think I could quote the film front to back and sideways. The scenes with the dog, George give me fits and even thinking about that 'nasty little cur' now makes me giggle.

VP81955 said...

You had never seen a Carole Lombard movie before "My Man Godfrey"? You've got a lot of nice viewing ahead. Check her out in "Nothing Sacred," "Hands Across The Table," "Twentieth Century," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (a screwball directed by Alfred Hitchcock!) and her glorious finale, "To Be Or Not To Be." Carole is my all-time favorite actress (I have a blog dedicated to her,, and I think she'll rank high on your list, too.

Kate Gorman said...

I love Bringing Up Baby! :D It's fantastic! xx

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