April 18th

Rent >> Screwball Comedies, Vol. 2

Icons of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 2 (Theodora Goes Wild / Together Again / The Doctor Takes a Wife / A Night to Remember)
Icons of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 2 (Theodora Goes Wild / Together Again / The Doctor Takes a Wife / A Night to Remember) (1936)
Actor: Irene Dunne, Melvyn Douglas, Thomas Mitchell, Charles Boyer, Charles Coburn, Loretta Young, Ray Milland, Reginald Gardiner, Gail Patrick, Edmund Gwenn, Thurston Hall, (more) Rosalind Keith, Brian Aherne, Elisabeth Risdon, Margaret McWade, Spring Byington, Nana Bryant, Henry Kolker, Mona Freeman, Jerome Courtland, Elizabeth Patterson, Charles Dingle, Bob Alden, Jessie Arnold, Charles Arnt, Frank Sully, Gordon Jones, Jeff Donnell, William Wright, Sidney Toler, Gale Sondergaard, Donald MacBride, Lee Patrick
Director: Richard Wallace, Charles Vidor, Alexander Hall, Richard Boleslawski
Genre: Comedy, Screwball Comedy
Year: 1936
Studio: Sony Pictures
Length: 374 minutes
Released: August 4, 2009
Rating: NR
Format: DVD
Misc: NTSC, Full Screen, Black & White
Language: English (Original Language)

The screwball comedy was virtually invented at Columbia Studios during the height of the depression. Following the huge success of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934), Columbia would make more of these madcap romantic comedies than any other studio.

Typical "screwballs" featured marital mix-ups and plenty of opportunities to poke fun at the wealthy, while allowing audiences to dwell in the luxury of the upper-class. These films also offered some of the best roles for actresses in this period, often playing working-girls in a man's world (Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday) or socially liberal gals battling restrictive upper-crust society (Katherine Hepburn in Holiday). A breezy approach to male and female roles was a hallmark of the screwball comedy.

Theodora Goes Wild (1936)
Under the direction of Richard Boleslawski (Rasputin and the Empress, The Painted Veil), Irene Dunne was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for this zany romantic comedy about a small-town girl (Dunne) who, under a pseudonym, writes a racy best-selling novel that scandalizes her prudish neighbors. On a trip to New York, she falls in love with the sophisticate artist (Melvyn Douglas) who discovers her secret and sets out to free her from the confines of her small-town society. Once unfettered, Theodora takes up the task of liberating him using his own tools: gossip, humiliation, and plenty of humor. Censored for suggestive situations, the film has been newly restored and is uncut. A fine supporting cast, including Oscar winner Thomas Mitchell (Best Supporting Actor, Stagecoach, 1940) and Oscar nominee Spring Byington (Best Supporting Actress, You Can't Take It With You, 1939), keeps this film rolling along splendidly. In addition to Miss Dunne's Academy Award nomination, Theodora Goes Wild was also nominated for Best Film Editing.

Together Again
Director Charles Vidor (Cover Girl, Gilda) reunited Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer (Algiers, Gaslight) for their third and last co-starring vehicle (following Love Affair and When Tomorrow Comes, both 1939). Their first comedy together concerned the small town mayor and widow (Dunne) who hires a suave sculptor (Boyer) to immortalize her deceased husband. The New York Times, in an enthusiastic review, declared this picture "suggestive of naughtier things" than censors allowed for the period. Legendary character actor Charles Coburn (The Lady Eve, The More the Merrier) co-stars.

A Night to Remember
Oscar nominee Brian Aherne (Best Supporting Actor, Juarez, 1940) and Loretta Young (Man's Castle, The Bishop's Wife) star as a married couple who move to New York's Greenwich Village. Young is concerned that her author husband only writes thrillers and hopes the new surroundings will inspire him to write a love story for a change. However, her plans go quite awry when the building turns out to be filled with shady characters and the body of a dead man is found in their backyard.

The Doctor Takes a Wife
Academy Award winner Ray Milland (Best Actor, The Lost Weekend, 1946) and Loretta Young star in this story of a best-selling authoress who expounds the virtues of the single life, and the doctor who is mistaken for her husband. Great performances highlight this sparkling comedy and the supporting cast includes Reginald Gardiner (Christmas in Connecticut), Gail Patrick (My Man Godfrey), and Edmund Gwenn (Miracle on 34th Street). Oscar nominee Alexander Hall (Best Director, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, 1942) directed.


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