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Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy [NOOK Book]

Overview


From City Lights to Knocked Up, this history examines American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother, the comedy, and puts the comic titans of the present in the context of their predecessors. The 30 chapters and 100 essays follow the connections that link Mae West to Marilyn Monroe and W. C. Fields to Will Ferrell. Offering unvarnished insight into comedians and directors such as Buster Keaton, Christopher Guest, Eddie Murphy, and Ben Stiller, this eye-opening, ...

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Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy

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Overview


From City Lights to Knocked Up, this history examines American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother, the comedy, and puts the comic titans of the present in the context of their predecessors. The 30 chapters and 100 essays follow the connections that link Mae West to Marilyn Monroe and W. C. Fields to Will Ferrell. Offering unvarnished insight into comedians and directors such as Buster Keaton, Christopher Guest, Eddie Murphy, and Ben Stiller, this eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour encompasses the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between. Laurel and Hardy, Marilyn Monroe, Peter Sellers, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and the Coen Brothers are among others profiled, while a list of the top-100 American film comedies is also included.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
American film comedy is barely a century old and already commentary on it can fill bookshelves, with countless pages devoted to the evolution of physical comedy, the influence of notable comedians like Charlie Chaplin, and the effects of technology on the form. Austerlitz touches on all of these things, but his objective is to provide a chronological set of biographies of the most important figures, both major (the top 30) and minor (over 100 more), and comment on their achievements and influence. The result is a comprehensive textbook that traces a legitimate line of succession from Chaplin to Apatow. Clearly Austerlitz has great affection for and knowledge of his subject; he can comment with equal skill on Renee Zellweger and W.C. Fields. Still, his take on the century is not without bias. Never less than candid ("Mel Brooks is overrated"), his tastes are also present in what he leaves out (Hal Ashby, Hal Hartley, and Cameron Crowe are all missing). Though readers will surely disagree with some of his choices, the breadth of material Austerlitz has compiled here is a feat. Photos. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"Entertaining reading."  —Booklist

“Conventional wisdom holds that analyzing comedy is a thankless task—who’s to say what’s funny, and why kill the fun of it?—but Saul Austerlitz’s wide-ranging survey of American film comedy is both illuminating and hugely enjoyable. With its sharp insights and vivid biographical sketches, it’s first-rate film criticism and a terrific resource to boot.”  —Dennis Lim, editor, The Village Voice Film Guide

"I was enrapt, argumentative, gobsmacked, amused and ready to rethink what I know about American film comedy. Crack this book open, and let the debate—and the flying pies—begin."  —Glen David Gold, author, Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside

"Comprehensive yet reader-friendly account."  LAWeekly.com

"A sprawling but incisive biography of film comedy history."  —North County Times

"Entertaining and amusing . . . this book truly highlights the best of the genre."  —COEDMagazine.com

"Clever and well-researched."  —Library Journal

"Sharp, scholarly."  —AmericanProfile.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569767634
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 576
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Saul Austerlitz is a writer living in New York City.  His work has been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Slate, the Boston Globe, and other publications.  He is the author of Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes.

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