Kinds of American Film Comedy

Six Core Genres and Their Literary Roots


In stock

SKU: 9781476688992 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

This groundbreaking film study begins with a survey of American print humorists from eras leading up to and overlapping the advent of film—including some who worked both on the page and on the screen, like Robert Benchley, Will Rogers, Groucho Marx and W. C. Fields. Six comic film genres are identified as outgrowths of a national tradition of Cracker Barrel philosophers, personality comedy, parody, screwball comedy, romantic comedy and dark comedy. Whether it is Mark Twain or a parody film involving Steve Martin, comedy is most often about blowing “raspberries” at the world, and a reminder you are not alone.

About the Author(s)

Wes D. Gehring is a distinguished professor of film at Ball State University and associate media editor for USA Today magazine, for which he also writes the column “Reel World.” He is the author of 40 film books, including biographies of James Dean, Carole Lombard, Steve McQueen, Robert Wise, Red Skelton and Charlie Chaplin.

Bibliographic Details

Wes D. Gehring
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 242
Bibliographic Info: 39 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8899-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5049-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ashley M. Donnelly 1
Preface and Acknowledgments 3
Prologue: Core Comic Film Genres and Print Humor Ties 5
One. An American Print Humor Survey Prior to American Film Comedy 11
Two. Personality Comedian 36
Three. Crackerbarrel Populism 65
Four. Parody 92
Five. Screwball Comedy (American Farce) 119
Six. Romantic Comedy 151
Seven. Dark Comedy 178
Epilogue: Exit Laughing 209
Chapter Notes 213
Bibliography 223
Index 231

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Gehring remains supreme in film comedy scholarship”—Choice

• “Just about anything with film historian and media writer Wes D. Gehring’s name on it will be of quality.”—Cinema Retro

• “Wes Gehring’s Kinds of American Film Comedy: Six Core Genres and Their Literary Roots is a tour de force. Ranging in depth over the subcategories of a mainstream genre, Gehring brings a wealth of research and detailed analysis to this outstanding and model discussion of the varied contexts and formal characteristics of film comedy. The volume includes a most welcome and original survey of the links between print and screen humor. It will appeal to general film-loving readers as well as to scholars and specialists dedicated to film comedy.”—Peter William Evans, emeritus professor of film studies, Queen Mary University of London