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Screwball Comedy

ENGL 291.402
crosslisted as: CINE 201, ARTH 391
instructor(s):
Wednesday 2-5:00

This course examines the rise of the classic Hollywood screwball comedy, 1934-1942, and its enduring impact. Occasionally thought of as “a sex comedy without sex,” screwball often blends slapstick, farce, and lunacy with sophisticated, rapid-fire dialogue, wit, and innuendo. Starting with such early entries as It Happened One Night (1934), My Man Godfrey (1936), and The Awful Truth (1937), we cover such classics as His Girl Friday (1940) and The Lady Eve (1941). Finally, we make our way to the screwball revival in films like What’s Up, Doc? (1972), When Harry Met Sally (1989), and Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Screenings are accompanied by primary and secondary texts that focus on the wide-ranging meanings that the genre has held over time in literature, film history, and theory.