Comedy film

Comedy is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humour. These films are designed to make the audience laugh through amusement and most often work by exaggerating characteristics for humorous effect.[1] Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending (black comedy being an exception). One of the oldest genres in film, some of the very first silent movies were comedies, as slapstick comedy often relies on visual depictions, without requiring sound. When sound films became more prevalent during the 1920s, comedy films took another swing, as laughter could result from burlesque situations but also dialogue.

Comedy, compared with other film genres, puts much more focus on individual stars, with many former stand-up comics transitioning to the film industry due to their popularity. While many comic films are lighthearted stories with no intent other than to amuse, others contain political or social commentary (such as The King of Comedy and Wag the Dog).

History

Silent Film Era

The era of Silent Film began with the release of the motion picture itself. Many films were released in the late 1870s and 1880s that are widely considered to be the first instance of movies like The Horse in Motion(1875) by Eadweard Muybridge, Roundhay Garden Scene (1888), and Arrival of a Train (1895) by the Lumière Brothers.[2] However, the first comedy film can be classified as the Watering the Gardener (1895) also created by the Lumière Brothers. These films were silent, and began the Silent Film era that was then defined by comedy actors like William Haines, Charlie Chaplin, Lon Chaney, and Buster Keaton.

Subgenres

Comedy of Manners

A comedy of manners satirizes the manners and affectations of a social class, often represented by stock characters. Also, satirical comedy-drama & the plot is often concerned with an illicit love affair or some other scandal. However, the plot is generally less important for its comedic effect than its witty dialogue. This form of comedy has a long ancestry, dating back at least as far as Much Ado about Nothing created by William Shakespeare.

Slapstick

Slapstick films involve exaggerated, boisterous action to create impossible and humorous situations. Because it relies predominately on visual depictions of events, it does not require sound. Accordingly, the subgenre was ideal for silent movies and was prevalent during that era. Popular silent stars of the slapstick genre include Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Roscoe Arbuckle, and Harold Lloyd. Some of these stars, as well as acts such as Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges, also found success incorporating slapstick comedy into sound films.

Fish Out of Water

In a fish out of water comedy, the main character or character finds himself in an unusual environment, which drives most of the humour. Situations can be neo noir crime comedy, satirical comedy-drama & black comedy as sometimes as fantasy comedy behinds swapping gender roles, as in Tootsie (1982); an age changing role, as in Big (1988); a freedom-loving individual fitting into a structured environment, as in Police Academy (1984); a rural backwoodsman in the big city, as in Crocodile Dundee, and so forth. The Coen Brothers are known for using this technique in all of their films, though not always to comic effect. Some films including people fitting the "fish-out-of-water" bill include The Big Lebowski (1998) and A Serious Man (2009).

Parody

A parody or spoof film is a comedy that satirizes other film genres or classic films. Such films mockumentary, employ sarcasm, stereotyping, mockery of scenes from other films, and the obviousness of meaning in a character's actions. Examples of this form include Mud and Sand (1922), Blazing Saddles (1974), Airplane! (1980), Young Frankenstein (1974),and Scary Movie (2000).

Anarchic Comedy

The anarchic comedy film, as its name suggests, is a random or stream-of-consciousness type of humour which often lampoons a form of authority.[3] The genre dates from the silent era, and the most famous examples of this type of film would be those produced by Monty Python.[4] Others include Duck Soup (1933) and National Lampoon's Animal House (1978).

Black Comedy

The black comedy film deals with normally taboo subjects, including death, murder, crime, suicide, and war, in a satirical manner. Examples include Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), The Ladykillers (1955), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), The Loved One (1965), MASH (1970), The King of Comedy (1983), Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983), Brazil (1985), After Hours (1985), The War of the Roses (1989), Heathers (1989), Your Friends & Neighbors (1998), Keeping Mum (2005), Burn After Reading (2008), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (2017).

Gross Out

Gross out films are a relatively recent development and rely heavily on vulgar, sexual or "toilet" humour. Examples include Porky's (1982), Dumb and Dumber (1994), There's Something About Mary (1998), and American Pie (1999).

Screwball Comedy

It was not uncommon for the early romantic comedy film to also be a screwball comedy film. This form of comedy film was particularly popular during the 1930s and 1940s. There is no consensus definition of this film style, and it is often loosely applied to slapstick or romantic comedy films. Typically it can include a romantic element, an interplay between people of different economic strata, quick and witty repartee, some form of role reversal, and a happy ending. Some examples of the screwball comedy are: It Happened One Night (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Philadelphia Story (1940), His Girl Friday (1940), and more recently, What's Up, Doc? (1972).

Hybrid subgenres

Action Comedy

Films in this sub-genre blend comic antics and action where the film stars combine with and one-liners with a thrilling plot and daring stunts. The genre became a specific draw in North America in the eighties when comedians such as Eddie Murphy started taking more action oriented roles such as in 48 Hrs. and Beverly Hills Cop. These types of films are often buddy films, with mismatched partners such as in Midnight Run, Rush Hour, 21 Jump Street, Bad Boys, Starsky and Hutch, and Hot Fuzz. Slapstick martial arts films became a mainstay of Hong Kong action cinema through the work of Jackie Chan among others. It may also focus on superheroes such as The Incredibles, Hancock, Kick-Ass, and Mystery Men. It may focus on kung fu such as Kung Fu Panda.

Comedy Horror

Comedy horror is a type of film in which the usual dark themes and "scare tactics" attributed to horror films are treated with a humorous approach. These films either use goofy horror cliches, such as in Scream, Young Frankenstein, Little Shop of Horrors, Haunted Mansion, and Scary Movie where campy styles are favoured. Some are much more subtle and don't parody horror, such as An American Werewolf In London. Another style of comedy horror can also rely on over the top violence and gore such as in The Evil Dead (1981), Re-Animator (1985), Braindead (1992), and Club Dread (2004) - such films are sometimes known as splatstick, a portmanteau of the words splatter and slapstick. It would be reasonable to put Ghostbusters in this category.

Comedy Thriller

A genre that combines elements of comedy and thrillers, a combination of humor and suspense or action. Films such as Silver Streak, Charade, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, In Bruges, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Grosse Point Blank, The Thin Man, The Big Fix, and The Lady Vanishes.

Fantasy Comedy

Fantasy comedy films are types of films that uses magic, supernatural and or mythological figures for comic purposes. Most fantasy comedy includes an element of parody, or satire, turning many of the fantasy conventions on their head such as the hero becoming a cowardly fool, the princess being a klutz. Examples of these films include The Chipmunk Adventure, Big, Being John Malkovich, Ernest Saves Christmas, Ernest Scared Stupid, Night at the Museum, Groundhog Day, Click, and Shrek.

Comic Science Fiction

Sci-fi comedy films, like most hybrid genre of comedy, use the elements of science fiction films to over the top extremes and exaggerated science fiction stereotypical characters. Examples of these types of films include Back to the Future, Spaceballs, Ghostbusters, Evolution, Innerspace, Galaxy Quest, Mars Attacks!, Men in Black, and The World's End.

Military comedy

Military comedy films involve comic situations in a military setting. When a film is primarily about the experience of civilians called into military service and still feeling out of place, it may be referred to as a "service comedy". Because war is such a grim subject, many military comedies are set in peacetime or during wartime but away from battle zones. Military and service comedies include Good Morning, Vietnam, M*A*S*H, Forrest Gump, and more.[5]

Romantic comedy

The romantic comedy film subgenre typically involves the development of a relationship between a man and a woman. The stereotyped plot line follows the "boy-gets-girl", "boy-loses-girl", "boy gets girl back again" sequence. Naturally, there are innumerable variants to this plot, and much of the generally light-hearted comedy lies in the social interactions and sexual tensions between the pair. Examples of this style of film include It (1927), City Lights (1931), It's a Wonderful World (1939), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Sabrina (1954), Annie Hall (1977), When Harry Met Sally... (1989), Pretty Woman (1990), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), and There's Something About Mary (1998).

By Country

Country Comedy film
 US American comedy films
 UK British comedy films
 FRA French comedy films
 IND Indian comedy films
 ITA Italian comedy films
 MAS Malaysian Comedy films

See Also

References

  1. ^ "Comedy Films". Filmsite.org. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  2. ^ "What Was the First Movie Ever Made?". Heads Up. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Absurd Comedy". Allmovies.
  4. ^ Sexton, Timothy. "Anarchic Comedy from the Silent Era to Monty Python". Yahoo! Movies.
  5. ^ "Military Humor in Film". Wikipedia. Retrieved 18 March 2019.

Bibliography

  • Thomas W. Bohn and Richard L. Stromgren, Light and Shadows: A History of Motion Pictures, 1975, Mayfield Publishing.
  • Horton, Andrew S. (1991). Comedy/Cinema/Theory. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-07040-0.
  • King, Geoff (2002). Film Comedy. Wallflower Press. ISBN 978-1-903364-36-9.
  • Rickman, Gregg (2004). The Film Comedy Reader. Limelight Editions. ISBN 978-0-87910-295-1.
  • Weitz, Eric (2009). The Cambridge Introduction to Comedy. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83260-1.

External Links

A Gentleman of Leisure (1915 film)

A Gentleman of Leisure is a surviving 1915 American silent comedy film produced by Jesse Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It stars stage veteran Wallace Eddinger. The film is based on the novel A Gentleman of Leisure by P. G. Wodehouse and 1911 Broadway play adapted by Wodehouse and John Stapleton. A young actor named Douglas Fairbanks was a cast member in the play several years before beginning a film career. This film survives in the Library of Congress.

Action film

Action film is a film genre in which the protagonist or protagonists are thrust into a series of challenges that typically include violence, extended fighting, physical feats, and frantic chases. Action films tend to feature a resourceful hero struggling against incredible odds, which include life-threatening situations, a villain, or a pursuit which usually concludes in victory for the hero (though a small number of films in this genre have ended in victory for the villain instead). Advancements in CGI have made it cheaper and easier to create action sequences and other visual effects that required the efforts of professional stunt crews in the past. However, reactions to action films containing significant amounts of CGI have been mixed, as films that use computer animations to create unrealistic, highly unbelievable events are often met with criticism. While action has long been a recurring component in films, the "action film" genre began to develop in the 1970s along with the increase of stunts and special effects. Common action scenes in films are generally, but not limited to, car chases, fighting and gunplay or shootouts.

This genre is closely associated with the thriller and adventure genres, and they may also contain elements of drama and spy fiction.

Black comedy

Black comedy, also known as dark comedy or gallows humor, is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss. Comedians often use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, thus provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as amusement in their audience. Popular themes of the genre include death and violence (murder, suicide, abuse, domestic violence, graphic violence, rape, torture, war, genocide, terrorism, corruption), discrimination (chauvinism, racism, sexism, homophobia, classism), disease (anxiety, depression, nightmares, drug abuse, mutilation, disability, terminal illness, insanity), sexuality (sodomy, homosexuality, incest, infidelity, fornication), religion, and barbarism.

Black comedy differs from blue comedy which focuses more on crude topics such as nudity, sex, and bodily fluids. Although the two are interrelated, black comedy is also different from straightforward obscenity in that it is more subtle and does not necessarily have the explicit intention of offending people. In obscene humor, much of the humorous element comes from shock and revulsion, while black comedy might include an element of irony, or even fatalism. For example, an archetypal example of black comedy in the form of self-mutilation appears in the English novel Tristram Shandy. Tristram, five years old at the time, starts to urinate out of an open window for lack of a chamber pot. The sash falls and circumcises him; his family reacts with both hysteria and philosophical acceptance.

Literary critics have associated black comedy and black humor with authors as early as the ancient Greeks with Aristophanes.Whereas the term black comedy is a relatively broad term covering humor relating to many serious subjects, gallows humor tends to be used more specifically in relation to death, or situations that are reminiscent of dying.

Black humor can occasionally be related to the grotesque genre.

Brother Alfred

Brother Alfred is a 1932 British comedy film directed by Henry Edwards and starring Gene Gerrard, Molly Lamont and Elsie Randolph. After she finds him embracing one of the maids, a man's fiancée ends her engagement to him. In an effort to win her back he disguises himself as a fictional twin brother.

Chloë Grace Moretz

Chloë Grace Moretz (; born February 10, 1997) is an American actress and model. She began acting at age six, with early roles in the supernatural horror film The Amityville Horror (2005), the drama series Desperate Housewives (2006–07), the supernatural horror film The Eye (2008), the drama film The Poker House (2008), the drama series Dirty Sexy Money (2007–08), the romantic comedy film 500 Days of Summer (2009) and the children's comedy film Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010).Moretz' breakthrough came in 2010 with her critically acclaimed performances as Hit-Girl in the superhero film Kick-Ass and as a child vampire in the horror film Let Me In. She then starred in Martin Scorsese's historical adventure film Hugo (2011), Tim Burton's horror comedy film Dark Shadows (2012), the satirical sitcom 30 Rock (2011–13), reprised her role as Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass 2 (2013) and played Carrie White in the supernatural horror film Carrie (2013). In 2014, Moretz starred in the award-winning drama film Clouds of Sils Maria, the teen romantic drama If I Stay and the vigilante action film The Equalizer.

After starring in the mystery thriller film Dark Places (2015), the science fiction action film The 5th Wave (2016) and the comedy film Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016), Moretz announced that she was "re-assessing" her roles and choices and was dropping out of several projects, including Universal Studios' live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Moretz' subsequent roles have included the drama film The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the horror film Suspiria, and Neil Jordan's drama thriller film Greta, all in 2018. She will voice Snow White and Wednesday Addams in upcoming animated films. Moretz' stage work includes her starring role in the original off-Broadway production of The Library (2014) at The Public Theater in New York City.

Comedy-drama

Comedy-drama or dramedy (a portmanteau of drama and comedy), is a genre in film and in television works in which plot elements are a combination of comedy and drama. It is a subgenre of contemporary tragicomedy. Comedy-drama is especially found in television programs and is considered a "hybrid genre".

Comedy horror

Comedy horror is a literary and film genre that combines elements of comedy and horror fiction. Comedy horror has been described as able to be categorized under three types: "black comedy, parody and spoof." It often crosses over with the black comedy genre. Comedy horror can also parody or subtly spoof horror clichés as its main source of humour or use those elements to take a story in a different direction, for example in The Cabin in the Woods or Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.

Author Bruce G. Hallenbeck cites the short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving as "the first great comedy horror story". The story made readers "laugh one moment and scream the next", and its premise was based on mischief typically found during the holiday Halloween.

Crime film

Crime films, in the broadest sense, are a cinematic genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its detection. Stylistically, the genre may overlap and combine with many other genres, such as drama or gangster film, but also include comedy, and, in turn, is divided into many sub-genres, such as mystery, suspense or noir.

List of Algerian films

This is a list of films produced in Algeria.

List of impostors

An impostor (also spelled imposter) is a person who pretends to be somebody else, often through means of disguise. Their objective is usually to try to gain financial or social advantages through social engineering, but also often for purposes of espionage or law enforcement.

Panic Button (1964 film)

Panic Button is 1964 low-budget Italian-produced comedy film starring, Maurice Chevalier, Eleanor Parker, Jayne Mansfield, and Mike Connors. Filmed in the summer of 1962, in Italy, and released nearly two years later, the film tells the story of how two unknown actors (Chevalier and Mansfield) are chosen to be in a big-budgeted film version of Romeo and Juliet. The film was known for being one of the many foreign movies Mansfield was forced to make since her contract was dropped from 20th Century Fox in 1962.

Romantic comedy

Romantic comedy (portmanteaus: romedy, romcom or lovecome) is a genre with light-hearted, humorous plotlines centered on romantic ideas, such as how true love is able to surmount most obstacles. One dictionary definition is "a funny movie, play, or television program about a love story that ends happily". Another definition suggests that its "primary distinguishing feature is a love plot in which two sympathetic and well-matched lovers are united or reconciled".Romantic comedy films are a certain genre of comedy films as well as of romance films, and may also have elements of screwball comedies. However, a romantic comedy is classified as a film with two genres not a single new genre. Some television series can also be classified as romantic comedies.

In a typical romantic comedy the two lovers tend to be young, likeable, and seemingly meant for each other, yet they are kept apart by some complicating circumstance (e.g., class differences, parental interference; a previous girlfriend or boyfriend) until, surmounting all obstacles, they are finally reunited. A fairy-tale-style happy ending is a typical feature.

Screwball comedy film

Screwball comedy is a subgenre of the romantic comedy film that became popular during the Great Depression, originating in the early 1930s and thriving until the early 1940s. It is widely known for satirizing the traditional love story. Many secondary characteristics of this genre are similar to film noir, but it distinguishes itself for being characterized by a female that dominates the relationship with the male central character, whose masculinity is challenged. The two engage in a humorous battle of the sexes, which was a new theme for Hollywood and audiences at the time. What sets the screwball comedy apart from the generic romantic comedy is that "screwball comedy puts its emphasis on a funny spoofing of love, while the more traditional romantic ultimately accents love." Other elements of the screwball comedy include fast-paced, overlapping repartee, farcical situations, escapist themes, physical battle of the sexes, disguise and masquerade, and plot lines involving courtship and marriage. Screwball comedies often depict social classes in conflict, as in It Happened One Night (1934) and My Man Godfrey (1936). Some comic plays are also described as screwball comedies.

Sex comedy

Sex comedy or more broadly sexual comedy is a genre in which comedy is motivated by sexual situations and love affairs. Although "sex comedy" is primarily a description of dramatic forms such as theatre and film, literary works such as those of Ovid and Chaucer may be considered sex comedies.

Sex comedy was popular in 17th century English Restoration theatre. From 1953 to 1965, Hollywood released a number of "will she or won't she?" sex comedies, starring Doris Day, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. The United Kingdom released a spate of sex comedies in the 1970s notably the Carry On series. Hollywood released Animal House in 1978, which was followed by a long line of teen sex comedies in the early 1980s, e.g. Porky's, Bachelor Party and Risky Business. Other countries with a significant sex comedy film production include Brazil (pornochanchada), Italy (commedia sexy all'italiana) and Mexico (sexicomedias).

Sports film

A sports film is a film genre that uses sport as the theme of the film. It is a production in which a sport, sporting event, athlete (and their sport), or follower of sport (and the sport they follow) are prominently featured, and which depend on sport to a significant degree for their plot motivation or resolution. Despite this, sport is ultimately rarely the central concern of such films and sport performs primarily an allegorical role. Furthermore, sports fans are not necessarily the target demographic in such movies, but sports fans tend to have a large following or respect for such movies.

Summer Lightning (film)

Summer Lightning is a 1933 British comedy film directed by Maclean Rogers and starring Ralph Lynn, Winifred Shotter, Chili Bouchier and Horace Hodges. It is based on the novel Summer Lightning by P.G. Wodehouse.

The Social Highwayman

The Social Highwayman is a 1926 American silent comedy film directed by William Beaudine.

The Three Little Stooges

The Three Little Stooges is an upcoming American action comedy film based on the iconic comedy team The Three Stooges. The film is a somewhat of a prequel to the 2012 film The Three Stooges.

Zombie comedy

The zombie comedy, often called zom com or zomedy, is a film genre that aims to blend zombie horror motifs with slapstick comedy as well as dark comedy.

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