Comedy


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The Awful Truth

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

The Awful Truth

Tagline – It’s a Glorious Comedy… Uproarious Romance!

Starring – Irene Dunne (Lucy Warriner), Cary Grant (Jerry Warriner), Ralph Bellamy (Daniel Leeson), Alexander D’Arcy (Armand Duvalle).

Released – October, 1937

Directed By – Leo McCarey

Produced By – Colombia Pictures Corporation

Distributed By – Colombia Pictures

NOTABLE: The Awful Truth won the Academy Award for Best Director (Leo McCarey), and was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Irene Dunne), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ralph Bellamy), Best Film Editing, and Best Writing, Screenplay.

In 1996, The Awful Truth was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

This motion picture provided Cary Grant with the opportunity to display his light comedy persona which proved to be the basis for nearly all of his subsequent films. Writer/Director Peter Bogdanovich stated that when it comes to light comedy, “there was Cary Grant and everyone else was an also-ran”.

A great deal of the film was improvised by Director Leo McCarey. So much so that, at one point, Cary Grant tried to get out of the film. However, the picture was loved by the public and got Grant’s career off and running.

In 2006, Premiere magazine voted this motion picture one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time.”

The fox terrier in the film playing Mr. Smith is actually named Skippy, with the previous credit of having played Asta in the Thin Man movies.

The Awful Truth was the first of three screen pairings of Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.

httpv://youtu.be/B0-euBr_vRU

Easy Living

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Easy Living (Universal Cinema Classics)

Tagline – The Daffiest Screen Comedy of All Time!

Starring – Jean Arthur (Mary Smith), Edward Arnold (J. B. Ball), Ray Milland (John Ball, Jr.), Luis Alberni (Mr. Louis Louis), Mary Nash (Mrs. Jenny Ball).

Released – July, 1937

Directed By – Mitchell Leisen

Produced By – Paramount Pictures

Distributed By – Paramount Pictures

NOTABLE: This was the first script written by Preston Sturges for Paramount.

During the bathtub scene, actor Ray Milland got stuck in the tub. While the incident wasn’t in the script the camera kept rolling and the scene left in the film.

To satisfy the requirements of the Production Code, the love scene on the divan had to be filmed with Arthur and Milland lying in opposite directions with their heads meeting in the middle. No physical contact was allowed except for a modest kiss.

All of the beautiful jewels and furs worn by Jean Arthur in the film were genuine and the insurance company insisted on guards being on the set.

Personal Note: Easy Living is just one of the many delightful comedies written by Preston Sturges, and is one of a number of equally enjoyable comedies starring Jean Arthur. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see them, it will be well worth your while.

httpv://youtu.be/bYHNO38ZzsY

Topper

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Topper

Tagline – 90 Roaring Minutes of Laughs!

Starring – Constance Bennett (Marion Kerby), Cary Grant (George Kerby), Roland Young (Cosmo Topper), Billie Burke (Mrs. Clara Topper).

Released – July, 1937

Directed By – Norman Z. McLeod

Produced By – Hal Roach Studios

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

NOTABLE: Topper received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Roland Young), and Best Sound, Recording.

As part of his compensation package, Cary Grant decided to receive a percentage deal on the film. The picture turned out to be a huge success and one of the best business deals Grant ever made.

Topper is ranked #60 on the American Film Institutes 100 Years…100 Laughs list.

Producer Hal Roach has hoped to sign W. C. Fields and Jean Harlow to play the roles of George and Marion Kerby, but both were unavailable at the time.

In 1985, Topper became the first film to be “colorized.”

httpv://youtu.be/rUjrRXH-eJM

A Day at the Races

Monday, September 17th, 2012

A Day at the Races

Tagline – The Year’s BIG Laugh, Music, and Girl Show!

Starring – Groucho Marx (Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush), Chico Marx (Tony), Harpo Marx (Stuffy), Allan Jones (Gil Stewart), Maureen O’Sullivan (Judy Standish), Margaret Dumont (Emily Upjohn).

Released – June, 1937

Directed By – Sam Wood

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

NOTABLE: A Day at the Races received an Oscar nomination for Best Dance Direction.

During the films production, MGM executive Irving Thalberg died as a result of pneumonia at the age of 37. It was Thalberg that brought the Marx Brothers to MGM, and after his death it is generally considered that the studio never again gave them the quality backing that they deserved.

Groucho Marx’s character was originally named Dr. Quackenbush. However, after finding out that there were at least a dozen legitimate doctors named Quackenbush, the studio, fearing legal problems, changed the name to Hackenbush.

A Day at the Races was the only Marx Brothers film to receive an Oscar nomination in a competitive category.

This motion picture provided the film debut for actor Richard Farnsworth.

In 2000, the American Film Institute named this picture the 59th funniest of all time.

Groucho Marx enjoyed the role of Dr. Hackenbush so much that he occasionally would sign letters to friends with the name.

httpv://youtu.be/XCDIRGouIV4

Libeled Lady

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Libeled Lady

Starring – Jean Harlow (Gladys), William Powell (Bill Chandler), Myrna Loy (Connie Allenbury), Spencer Tracy (Warren Haggerty), Walter Connolly (Mr. Allenbury).

Released – October, 1936

Directed By – Jack Conway

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

NOTABLE – Libeled Lady received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Coincidentally, the Best Picture winner that year was The Great Ziegfeld also starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

After completing Libeled Lady, the very popular Jean Harlow would make only two more pictures before her untimely death at the age of 26. When Harlow was entombed in Forest Lawn Cemetary she was dressed in a gown she wore in this film.

This motion picture was the fifth of fourteen films pairing William Powell with Myrna Loy.

httpv://youtu.be/JI-eY-bU9qg