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Need recommendations for classic Hollywood comedy

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jon Robertson, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    OK, so like most film lovers I get "into" certain genres for a little while, and at the moment I'm currently going through loads of wonderful vintage Hollywood comedies.

    I have The Bank Dick, Criterion's W.C. Fields Short Films disc, The Shop Around The Corner, My Man Godfrey, Trouble in Paradise, The Lady Eve, The Thin Man, Sullivan's Travels and The Old Dark House (if that counts).

    The thing is, I want more, but don't quite know where to go from here. Please, get listing!
     
  2. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Assuming you are limiting your choices to titles available on DVD, here's a few off the top of my head:
    His Girl Friday
    It Happened One Night
    Born Yesterday
    Arsenic and Old Lace
    Adam's Rib/Woman of the Year/Pat and Mike
    Duck Soup/Horse Feathers/Animal Crackers
    Ball of Fire
    Love in the Afternoon/Sabrina
    The Thin Man (It is more about comic interplay than about a murder mystery, IMHO. [​IMG])
    Lot's of others, of course, but there's a start.
    Regards,
     
  3. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Second 'The Thin Man'(yes the murder is just an excuse for witty repartee),'His Girl Friday' and 'Arsenic and Old Lace'

    Highest recommendation for 'Philadelphia Story'

    Any Marx Brothers

    Also (a little later than 'classic'):

    The Apartment
    Some Like it Hot (the ONLY movie where drag is funny, IMHO)
    Mr. Roberts
    Operation Petticoat
     
  4. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Thank you both for The Thin Man recommendation. However, if you'd be so kind as to read my original post... [​IMG]
    Looking at that list, I shall have to get cracking! But please - the more the merrier!
     
  5. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Jon,
    Please edit your initial post to remove your mention of The Thin Man so that I can retain my personal myth of infallibility.

    Delusionally yours,
     
  6. Paul Drake

    Paul Drake Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,

    I have the most of the "Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy" series put out by Image and they're a hoot. Considering the advanced age of the material, image quality ranges from as expected to postively stunning.

    Warning #1: most of these are silents so if you don't like silents beware

    Warning #2: the L&H magazine reports that this series is going to be repackaged as a special edition box set of 15 DVDs featuring the original 10 plus 5 DVDs of bonus material not available separately. Supposedly certain of the original 10 will feature footage/original titles not included in the original set.

    The sound L&H won't be available in R1 until later this year although there are some great German titles available.
     
  7. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Limiting this to 1960s and before:

    On dvd:

    The Gold Rush
    Duck Soup
    It Happened One Night
    Nothing Sacred
    The Ghost Breakers
    The Great Dictator
    The Philadelphia Story
    Road to Singapore
    Buck Privates
    In the Navy
    Road to Zanzibar
    My Favorite Blonde
    Road to Morocco
    Arsenic & Old Lace
    Road to Utopia
    Wonder Man
    Buck Privates Come Home
    My Favorite Brunette
    Road to Rio
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
    The Paleface
    Adam's Rib
    Sorrowful Jones
    Born Yesterday
    Harvey
    Monkey Business (1952)
    Pat & Mike
    Road to Bali
    Son of Paleface
    Roman Holiday
    Sabrina
    Mister Roberts
    The Seven Year Itch
    The Court Jester
    Bell, Book & Candle
    Houseboat
    Indiscreet
    Operation Petticoat
    Pillow Talk
    Some Like It Hot
    The Apartment
    That Touch of Mink
    Irma La Douce
    The Pink Panther
    Father Goose
    A Shot in the Dark
    How To Murder Your Wife
    The Fortune Cookie
    Barefoot in the Park
    The Odd Couple
    Support Your Local Sheriff
    The Producers
    Breakfast at Tiffany's
    Charade
    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
    The Bishop's Wife
    Miracle on 34th Street

    on dvd (but not Hollywood):

    Kind Hearts & Coronets
    The Man in the White Suit
    M. Hulot's Holiday
    The Ladykillers
    The Lavender Hill Mob
    The Horse's Mouth
    Dr. Strangelove
    A Hard Day's Night
    Help!

    Not on dvd (although some of these are coming):

    To Be or Not To Be (1942)
    After the Thin Man
    Desk Set
    The Long, Long Trailer
    Another Thin Man
    Shadow of the Thin Man
    In the Good Old Summertime
    It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (this is only on dvd in a shortened version)
    Kiss Me, Stupid
    The Thin Man Goes Home
    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
    The Love Bug
    Bringing Up Baby
    Ninotchka
    Christmas in Connecticut
    A Guide for the Married Man
    The Awful Truth
    The Farmer's Daughter
    You Can't Take it With You
    A Stranger in Town
    Man's Favorite Sport
    Naughty Nineties
    Up In Arms
    The Ghost & Mr. Chicken
    The Reluctant Astronaut
    The Shakiest Gun in the West
    Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
    Holiday
    It's A Gift
    Hail the Conquering Hero
    Send Me No Flowers
    The Palm Beach Story
    The Great McGinty
    Christmas in July
    Safety Last
    Ball of Fire
     
  8. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Narshty…er…Truly Narshty…er…Jon,
    While not all of them were actually made in Hollywood, nor are they all out-and-out comedies, from my own DVD collection, I would recommend the following titles:
    1.LADY FOR A DAY (1933) – Image Entertainment (R1)
    2.IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) – Columbia (R2)
    3.MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936) - Columbia (R1)
    4.BOYS WILL BE BOYS (1935) – VCI (R2)
    5.GOOD MORNING, BOYS! (1937) – VCI (R2)
    6.CONVICT 99 (1938) – VCI (R2)
    7.OLD BONES OF THE RIVER (1938) – VCI (R2)
    8.ASK A POLICEMAN (1939) – VCI (R2)
    9.MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) – Columbia (R2)
    10.THE GHOST BREAKERS (1940) – Universal (R1)
    11.HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940) – Columbia (R2) - in my opinion, definitely THE single greatest (and funniest) comedy there is!
    12.MEET JOHN DOE (1941) – Laurete (R2)
    The following list is made up of comedies (with the odd musical thrown in for good measure) already released or upcoming on DVD. However, since I already have most of them on VHS and, shamefully, practically none of them are Special Editions, I have decided to pass for the moment. Of course, if you haven't seen any of these, that fact alone should not discourage you from purchasing some of them. At any rate, the ones I will definitely be picking up are denoted by an asterisk:
    1.THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) - Columbia (R1)
    2.OH, MR. PORTER! (1937) - VCI (R2)
    3.YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938) - Columbia (R1)
    4.THE WOMEN (1939) - Warners (R1)
    5.THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) - Warners (R1) - one of Hollywood's most brilliant comedies
    6.THE "ROAD" SERIES (1940-45) [5-Disc Set] - Universal (R1)
    7.HOLIDAY INN (1942) - Laureate (R2)[*]
    8.MY FAVORITE BLONDE (1942)/STAR SPANGLED RHYTHM (1942) - Universal (R1)[*]
    9.THE TALK OF THE TOWN (1942) - Columbia (R1)
    10.WOMAN OF THE YEAR (1942) - MGM (R1)
    11.ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1944) - Warners (R1) - hilarious, with a wonderful cast in top form
    12.ADAM’S RIB (1949) - Warners (R1)
    13.BORN YESTERDAY (1950) - Columbia (R1)
    14.FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950) - MGM (R1)
    15.HARVEY (1950)[*] - Universal (R1) - Jimmy Stewart's own favorite!
    16.MONKEY BUSINESS (1952) - Fox (R1)
    17.PAT AND MIKE (1952) - Warners (R1)
    18.MAN’S FAVORITE SPORT? (1964)/STRANGE BEDFELLOWS (1965) [2-Disc Set] - Universal (R2) - the first is an amusing Hawksian throwback to the style of BRINGING UP BABY
    Off the top of my head, comes the last list, made up of classic comedies presently unavailable on DVD (or else in serious need of a decent re-release); it is, unfortunately, also the longest of the lot. Read’em and weep!
    1.THE LOVE PARADE (1929)
    2.ANIMAL CRACKERS (1930) - Image DVD OOP (a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal)
    3.FEET FIRST (1930) - (a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal)
    4.MONKEY BUSINESS (1931) - Image DVD OOP (a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal)
    5.THE SMILING LIEUTENANT (1931)
    6.HORSE FEATHERS (1932) - Image DVD OOP (a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal)
    7.LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932) - I hope Criterion will get their hands on this one
    8.MOVIE CRAZY (1932) - (a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal)
    9.ONE HOUR WITH YOU (1932)
    10.SHE DONE HIM WRONG (1932) - should be reissued ideally as a double-feature with I'M NO ANGEL
    11.BOMBSHELL (1933)
    12.DESIGN FOR LIVING (1933)
    13.DINNER AT EIGHT (1933)
    14.DUCK SOUP (1933) - Image DVD OOP (a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal)
    15.I’M NO ANGEL (1933) - should be re-issued, ideally as a double-feature with SHE DONE HIM WRONG
    16.BROADWAY BILL (1934)
    17.IT’S A GIFT (1934) - some W.C. Fields double or triple features a` la THE BOB HOPE TRIBUTE COLLECTION would be ideal
    18.SONS OF THE DESERT (1934) - available in R2 but a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal
    19.TWENTIETH CENTURY (1934) - hilarious, with a John Barrymore performance to treasure
    20.A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935)
    21.DESIRE (1936)
    22.LIBELLED LADY (1936)
    23.OUR RELATIONS (1936) - available in R2 but a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal
    24.ANGEL (1937)
    25.A DAY AT THE RACES (1937)
    26.EASY LIVING (1937)
    27.NOTHING SACRED (1937) - is it too much to expect a decent DVD release for this classic?
    28.WAY OUT WEST (1937) - available in R2 but a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal
    29.BLOCK-HEADS (1938) - available in R2 but a comprehensive Box Set a` la THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON would be ideal
    30.BRINGING UP BABY (1938) - one of the greatest (and funniest) of all comedies is presumably "in the works" for a R1 DVD release
    31.HOLIDAY (1938)
    32.BACHELOR MOTHER (1939)
    33.THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939) - oh, why didn't they pair it with THE GHOST BREAKERS?
    34.IT’S A WONDERFUL WORLD (1939)
    35.MIDNIGHT (1939)
    36.NINOTCHKA (1939)
    37.MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940)
    38.THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR (1942)
    39.THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) - I hope Criterion will be allowed to deliver the goods on this one too!
    40.TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942) - also one of the greatest (and funniest) of all comedies
    41.HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1943)
    42.THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943)
    43.THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN’S CREEK (1943) - I hope Criterion will be allowed to deliver the goods on this one too!
    44.HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (1944) - I hope Criterion will be allowed to deliver the goods on this one too!
    45.THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947)
    46.A FOREIGN AFFAIR (1948)
    47.MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (1948)
    48.STATE OF THE UNION (1948)
    49.UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948)
    50.I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE (1949)
    I'd love to write on most of them in detail as to why I think they'd make worthwhile DVD releases, but it would probably take forever, so I won't.
     
  9. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    A terrific little film that no one seems to have heard of is out on Kino DVD: The Good Fairy starring Margaret Sullavan. It's written by Preston Sturges-always a good sign- and features a great comic performance by Frank Morgan (later The Wizard of Oz). It ranked #4 on my 10 Best DVDs of 2002 list at digitallyOBSESSED. I loved it and don't know why it's so obscure.
     
  10. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Apart from the excellent recommendations already offered, I would add:
    1. CHAMPAGNE FOR CAESAR (1950), just released on R1 DVD from Image, and a better print than was found on the old Image laserdisc. The DVD print looks great, albeit with a couple of rough transition cuts, and some of the audio has a digitally-compressed quality during the first half-hour. Nevertheless, the film is hilarious (especially Vincent Price's performance), and is a must-have.
    2. THE ART OF BUSTER KEATON box set. Expensive, but worth every penny.
    Some more recommended comedies not on R1 DVD yet:
    MURDER HE SAYS (1945)
    LOVE CRAZY (1941)
    RUGGLES OF RED GAP (1935)
    MILLION DOLLAR LEGS (1932)
    FIGHT FOR YOUR LADY (1937)
    PROFESSOR BEWARE (1937)
    SITTING PRETTY (1948)
    GENEVIEVE (1953-British) (available in R2)
    THE LAST HOLIDAY (1950-British)
     

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