Favourite screwball comedy movies

Launched in the mid-1930s, screwball comedies were characterized by “satire of American society, romantic conflicts , battles of the sexes, sight gags, sarcasm, plot twists, verbal duels and witty dialogues”. But, at the end, all the conflicts are happily resolved. I love this kind of movies because it is funny, joyful, punchy, wacky and there is romance. The witty banter and the arguments between the characters are delightful! In addition, there were wonderful actors and actresses such as Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, William Powell, Jean Arthur, Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard and Katharine Hepburn. Frank Capra, Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder are my favourite directors.

“It happened one night” was directed by Frank Capra in 1934 and starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. “A spoiled heiress (Claudette Colbert), running away from her family, is helped by a man (Clark Gable) who is actually a reporter in need of a story.”

The thin man directed by W.S. Van Dyke in 1934 and starring Myrna Loy and William Powell. A former detective (William Powell) with his wife (Myrna Loy) investigate a missing case.

“Mr. Deeds goes to town” was directed by Frank Capra in 1936 and starring Jean Arthur and Gary Cooper. “Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers.”

“My man godfrey” was directed by Gregory La Cava in 1936 and starring Carole Lombard and William Powell. “A scatterbrained socialite (Carole Lombard) hires a vagrant (William Powell) as a family butler.” It is a lovely and funny movie ; the shower scene is excellent !

“The awful truth” was directed by Leo McCarey in 1937 and starring Cary Grant ane Irene Dunn. “Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other’s attempts to find new romance”.

Easy livingwas directed by Mitchell Leisen in 1937 and starring Jean Arthur and Ray Milland. “During the Great Depression, a wealthy banker (Edward Arnold) throws away his wife’s expensive fur coat ; it lands on the head of a stenographer (Jean Arthur). Thus, everyone assume she is his mistress and has access to his millions. ” It is a very funny and wonderful movie with a lovely Jean Arthur.

“You can’t take it with you” was directed by Frank Capra in 1938 and starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur. “A man from a family of rich snobs (James Stewart) becomes engaged to a woman (Jean Arthur) from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.” This a wonderful, moving, brillant and full of fancy movie.

“Holiday” was directed by George Cukor in 1938 and starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. “A young man (Cary Grant) falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée’s eccentric sister (Katharine Hepburn) and long suffering brother. ”

“Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife” was directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1938 and starring Claudette Colbert and Gary Cooper. “The daughter of a penniless marquis teaches her multi-millionaire fiancé a lesson, after learning he has had 7 previous wives. ”

“Bringing up baby” was directed by Howard Hawks in 1938 and starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. “A straight paleontologist (Cary Grant) is pursued by a free-spirited and irritating heir (Katharine Hepburn) and her pet leopard, Baby!”

“Ninotchka” was directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1939 and starring Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas. “A stern Russian woman (Greta Garbo) sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man (Melvyn Douglas) who represents everything she is supposed to detest.”

“Shop around the corner” was directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1940 and starring James Stewart and Maragaret Sullavan. “Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realizing that they’re falling in love through the post as each other’s anonymous pen pal.”

“His girl friday” was directed by Howard Hawks in 1940 and starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russel. “A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.” The dialogues are brillant and witty.

“The philadelphia story” was directed by George Cukor in 1940 and starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. “When a rich woman’s ex-husband (Cary Grant) and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she (Katharine Hepburn) begins to learn the truth about herself.”

“The devil and Miss Jones” was directed by Sam Wood in 1941 and starring Jean Arthur and Charles Coburn. “A tycoon (Charles Coburn) goes undercover to ferret out agitators at a department store, but gets involved in their lives instead. ” Jean Arthur is adorable as a shoes seller with a huge heart who helps Charles Coburn believing he is a new salesman.

Lady Eve” directed by Preston Sturges in 1941 and starring Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck. “Returning from a year up the Amazon studying snakes, the rich but unsophisticated Charles Pike meets con-artist Jean Harrington on a ship. They fall in love, but a misunderstanding causes them to split on bad terms. To get back at him, Jean disguises herself as an English lady, and comes back to tease and torment him.”

Ball of fire” directed by Howard Hawks in 1941, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper. A group of professors (Gary Cooper…) working on an encyclopedia meet a dancer (Barbara Stanwyck).

“Heaven can wait” was directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1943 and starring Gene Tierney and Don Ameche. “An old roué (Don Ameche) arrives in Hades to review his life with Satan, who will rule on his eligibility to enter the Underworld.”

The more the Merrier” was directed by George Stevens in 1943 starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea and Charles Coburn. “Due to a housing shortage in Washington, D.C., during World War II, Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur) agrees to rent part of her apartment to wealthy retiree Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn) and soldier Joe Carter (Joel McCrea).” It is a very funny movie with a lovely Jean Arthur.

Jean Arthur in “The more the Merrier”

“Cluny Brown” was directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1946 and starring Jenifer Jones and Charles Boyer. “Amateur plumber Cluny Brown (Jenifer Jones) gets sent off by her uncle to work as a servant at an English country estate. While there, she becomes friendly with Adam Belinski (Charles Boyer), a charming Czech refugee.”

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer was directed by Irving Reis in 1947 and starring Cary Grant, Shirley Temple and Myrna Loy. “A high school girl (Shirley Temple) living with her sister (Myrna Loy) falls for a playboy artist (Cary Grant) with screwball results.”

“Some like it hot” was directed by Billy Wilder in 1959 and starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. “When two musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.”

“What’s up doc?” was directed by Peter Bogdanovich in 1972 and starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal. “The accidental mix-up of four identical plaid overnight bags leads to a series of increasingly wild and wacky situations.”

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