I'll Have What She's Having: Behind the Scenes at the Great Romantic Comedies

Overview

While film genres go in and out of style, the romantic comedy endures—from year to year and generation to generation. Endlessly adaptable, the romantic comedy form has thrived since the invention of film as a medium of entertainment, touching on universal predicaments: meeting for the first time, the battle of the sexes, and the bumpy course of true love. These films celebrate lovers who play and improvise together, no matter how nutty or at what great odds they may appear. As Eugene Pallette mutters in My Man ...

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Overview

While film genres go in and out of style, the romantic comedy endures—from year to year and generation to generation. Endlessly adaptable, the romantic comedy form has thrived since the invention of film as a medium of entertainment, touching on universal predicaments: meeting for the first time, the battle of the sexes, and the bumpy course of true love. These films celebrate lovers who play and improvise together, no matter how nutty or at what great odds they may appear. As Eugene Pallette mutters in My Man Godfrey (1936), "All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people." Daniel Kimmel's book about romantic comedy is like watching a truly funny movie with a knowledgeable friend.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Post
Tony Curtis said romantic moments with Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot were like 'kissing Hitler' and Hector Elizondo was paid out of Garry Marshall's pocket for Pretty Woman because Disney balked at paying him top dollar for a small role. One of the surprises of this entertaining behind-the-scenes look at romantic comedies is how miserable everyone was. Comedy is hard, love is worse.
Chicago Tribune
This collection of self-contained essays about films, ranging from Adam's Rib to Annie Hall is full of behind-the-scenes details on the making of the movies. It's almost like being there.
Boston Globe
You may think you know everything about the great romantic comedies of Hollywood, but unless you've read this book you're wrong. Dan Kimmel puts it all in one place with scholarly diligence, an ear for gossip and great dialogue, and a sheer love of the movies. A treat for neophytes and hardcore cineastes alike, not to mention a handy guide for in-home night viewing.
— Ty Burr
The Boston Globe - Ty Burr
You may think you know everything about the great romantic comedies of Hollywood, but unless you've read this book you're wrong. Dan Kimmel puts it all in one place with scholarly diligence, an ear for gossip and great dialogue, and a sheer love of the movies. A treat for neophytes and hardcore cineastes alike, not to mention a handy guide for in-home night viewing.
Publishers Weekly
Film writer Kimmel (The Dream Team, The Fourth Network) goes behind the scenes of 15 genre classics to examine what made them great romantic comedies, still able to work their magic years later. Beginning with 1932's Trouble in Paradise and ending with 2003's Love, Actually, Kimmel dishes the dirt on everything from creative teams birthing miracle scripts to sets locked in such tension it's a wonder a movie got made at all. On-set drama is plentiful, including director Billy Wilder driving Humphrey Bogart up the wall with rewrites on Sabrina, and Marilyn Monroe driving Billy Wilder up the wall-and his film half a million dollars over budget-showing up seven hours late to the set of Some Like it Hot. Not all the films suffered such turmoil, evidenced by Katherine Hepburn's 1940 comeback vehicle The Philadelphia Story and Julia Roberts' star-making Pretty Woman, both of which are recalled with candor and affection. There's lots of minutiae and last-minute tweaks that make a film (like When Harry Met Sally's signature happy-couples interludes) to broaden readers' appreciation; the reading experience is akin to watching a classic with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic friend, and sure to revise readers' to-rent lists and Netflix queues.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Jewish Journal
This entertaining book is like watching a funny movie while sitting beside a knowledgeable friend who enhances your enjoyment of it.
—Cecille Markell
Library Journal

Film critic and author Kimmel (The Dream Team: The Rise and Fall of DreamWorks; The Fourth Network: How Fox Broke the Rules and Reinvented Television) dishes out movie recommendations with some interesting facts. He outlines 15 of what he considers to be the greatest romantic comedies and shows how they came together, detailing the casting, controversies, script changes, edits, and ironies that came into play. He also discusses how each movie was received and the subsequent career turns for those involved. There are many informative tidbits, like how Woody Allen's Annie Hall was an "incoherent mess," according to Kimmel, until editor Ralph Rosenblum sculpted it. Kimmel includes only one movie that was released this decade (Love Actually), so libraries that have his earlier Love Stories: Hollywood's Most Romantic Movies or Isn't It Romantic(both written with Nat Segaloff) may not need to add this one. Worth considering for public libraries with decent-sized collections of film books.
—Lani Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566637374
  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee
  • Publication date: 9/25/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel M. Kimmel has been a film critic for more than twenty years, including reporting for Variety. His book The Fourth Network: How FOX Broke the Rules and Reinvented Television (also published by Ivan R. Dee) won the Cable Center Book Award. Mr. Kimmel is a past president of the Boston Society of Film Critics and teaches film at Suffolk University. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Isn't It Romantic? 11

1 Trouble in Paradise 13

2 It Happened One Night 25

3 My Man Godfrey 41

4 The Shop Around the Corner 53

5 The Philadelphia Story 65

6 Adam's Rib 79

7 Sabrina 94

8 Pillow Talk 111

9 Some Like It Hot 127

Intermission

Love Is a Battlefield

10 Annie Hall 157

11 Arthur 173

12 When Harry Met Sally 187

13 Pretty Woman 203

14 There's Something About Mary 219

15 Love Actually 236

Acknowledgments 257

Notes 259

Bibliography 273

Index 279

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 8, 2009

    If you like movies

    If you like movies, especially romantic comedies, this book is for you. It's filled with behind the scenes tidbits about how these films were conceived, cast, produced and the effects they had on their actors and their audiences. Daniel Kimmel also gives us the historical perspective on these and how they influence today's movie making. It's a fun read! I also attended a book reading by the author recently who is also a local film critic. He shared more funny insights with us and obviously loves everything about the movie industry.

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