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Currents of Comedy on the American Screen: How Film and Television Deliver Different Laughs for Changing Times
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Currents of Comedy on the American Screen: How Film and Television Deliver Different Laughs for Changing Times (Paperback)

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Synopsis

While its obvious purpose is to make people laugh, film and television comedy is much more than that. From the birth of motion pictures until today, comedies have reflected and reinforced the evolving cultural milieu which defined American society. This book analyzes the evolution of film and television comedy from the advent of talking motion pictures in the 1930s through the present, defining five separate and distinct periods of this evolution and revealing how each period has been characterized by a dominant trend in film and television comedy. Chapter One examines the period spanning 1934 to 1942, an era defined by screwball comedies that deflected public attention from the grim realities of the Great Depression. Chapter Two deals with the period form 1940 to 1951 and the emergence of suspense comedy, which, like the concurrent film noir, reflected a yet darker social outlook in light of America's involvement in World War II. Chapter Three examines the battle-of-the-sexes comedy, extremely popular throughout the 1950s, looking at ""I Love Lucy"", ""The Honeymooners"", and other husband-and-wife sitcoms that seemingly reinforced post-war sexism. Chapter Four details the shift from the outlandish physical and exaggerated comedy of the 1950s to more realistic characters and plotlines, especially ""The Dick Van Dyke Show"" and its semi-autobiographical reflection of creator Carl Reiner's early years in show business. Chapter Five explores the resurrection of suspense comedy since the 1970s and 1980s, particularly the era's wildly popular 'dumb cop' or 'dumb spy' movie series like ""The Pink Panther"" and ""The Naked Gun"", along with 21st century remakes such as 2006's ""The Pink Panther"" and 2008's ""Get Smart"".

Film, TV & DramaFilms, cinemaFilm theory & criticism Publisher: McFarland & Co Inc Publication Date: 15/06/2009 ISBN-13: 9780786442645  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

Also the author of The American Bombing of Libya (2008), writer Nicholas Laham lives in Baldwin Park, California.

More books by Nicholas Laham

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