Felix Farmer’s (Richard Mulligan) latest movie flops – and lots of Hollywood types spring into action. Agents are called. Lawyers are retained. Statements are issued. It’s what master comedy director Blake Edwards calls “Standard Operating Bull,” the subject of his gleefully satiric S.O.B.Julie Andrews is a wholesome superstar about to alter her image.radically. Aiding and abetting the madness are William Holden, Robert Preston, Robert Vaughn, Shelley Winters, Loretta Swit and more. Dialogue crackles like fat in a fire, gags range from dead-on deadpan to comedic broadsides, insights bristle and sting. Nothing standard here: S.O.B. is extraordinary.
Janet Gaynor, Robert Montgomery, Franchot Tone and Grady Sutton play the four sides of a romantic quadrangle in this screwball comedy co-scripted by Bella and Samuel Spewack (Broadway’s Kiss Me, Kate). Gaynor portrays small-town girl Nancy Briggs, whose nebbish fianc? George (Sutton) doesn’t return from his Manhattan job in time to say, “I do.” So Nancy heads to the big city to hunt for her hubby-to-be and, after a series of dizzy complications, lands in the apartment of a debonair author (Montgomery), in the romantic sights of his equally debonair pal (Tone), and in the middle of a three-man boxing match when George suddenly reappears. Will Nancy ever get to the altar? And if so, with whom? Gaynor was fresh off her triumph in A Star Is Born when she made this fast-paced comedy and met its costume designer, Adrian. She soon became his bride and, at the height of her popularity, bid the movie world goodbye for almost 20 years.
Raw-boned, raspy-voiced, sixty-something Letitia “Tish” Carberry (Marjorie Main, who would find her greatest fame in the Ma Kettle film series) comes back to her hometown with a baby in her arms. “I’m a woman. It’s a baby. It’s mine!” she declares. Three splendid character actresses – Main, Zasu Pitts and Aline MacMahon – play three delightful spinsters in Tish, based on stories by Mary Roberts Rinehart. The old dears try their hands at matchmaking, get everything in a dreadful muddle, and end up caring for an orphaned baby they mistakenly believe is illegitimate. This warm comedy is laced with drama and punctuated with plenty of sight gags, including Main roller-skating in her Sunday best and the three stars tangling with a disgruntled bear on a camping trip.
Lee Tracy, the actor who makes a delightful specialty of playing motormouthed manipulators and flimflammers (including Hildy Johnson in Broadway’s original The Front Page and slick publicity man “Space” Hanlon in Jean Harlow’s Bombshell), stars in the pre-code comedy Clear All Wires! He portrays Buckley Joyce Thomas, brash foreign correspondent of the Chicago Globe. Bounced from a Moscow assignment for “conduct unbecoming a gentleman,” Buckley and his right-hand man Lefty (James Gleason) set in motion a plot to get their jobs back by staging a high-level assassination attempt and scooping the world – a plan that spins wildly out of control. Working from their Broadway play, Bella and Samuel Spewack provide the movie adaptation. They would rework the play for composer Cole Porter’s stage hit Leave It to Me! Perhaps most significantly, they would reunite with Porter for the timeless Kiss Me, Kate.
In the tradition of such groundbreaking comedy club shows as Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam, HBO presents the most outrageous stand-up comedy form Snapping. Snapping is a game of African-American comedic insults, also known as rap comedy or yo mama jokes. Snapping has been around for hundreds of years, dating back to times of slavery in the U.S. It’s a game that promotes fighting with your wits, not your fists. Hosted by Monteria Ivey, each half-hour episode features some of the toughest, funniest snappers in America. In a tag team format, they battle for comic insult supremacy in front of a wildly enthusiastic audience at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in New York City.
Screen greats Lana Turner, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Robert Taylor and William Powell all have cameos in this fun-loving comedy about teenage girls who cause mayhem while seeking autographs. Young star Virginia Weidler plays Joan Lyons, a New York City teenager with an endearing flair for the melodramatic. Joan serves as president of a movie fan club whose members collect celebrity autographs. When Joan learns that Greer Garson (as herself) is in town, she and best friend Patsy (Jean Porter) set out to meet the actress and get her famous signature. The giddy pair enjoy an assortment of fun adventures as they encounter several other MGM stars along the way in this breezy, modest little funny-bone tickler.
Academy Award®-winner* Mary Astor (The Maltese Falcon) stars as a widow whose grown children try to break up her romance with a college professor in this charming, offbeat comedy directed by the legendary Jules Dassin (Never on Sunday, Naked City, Rififi). When Susan (Susan Peters) and Jeff Evans (Elliot Reid), the adult children of widowed author and lecturer Jo Evans (Astor), discover that their mother has fallen in love with staid professor Michael Kingsley (Herbert Marshall), they intervene to try to end what they believe is an inappropriate relationship. Susan is briefly distracted from her mission when she falls for handsome drama professor Tom Farrell (Richard Carlson). Watch for Ava Gardner in a small cameo.
Ann Rogers is a lovely young opera student who would rather croon a mellow swing tune. Handsome Damon Dillingham is her classical voice instructor, although he’s really the former leader of a swell big band, and he needs Ann’s tuition money to reunite his group for a nightclub gig that follows appearances by Gene Krupa and his band. Can Ann and Damon reveal their true selves, work through misunderstandings and mixed-up feelings, and find romantic and musical bliss? Swing’s the thing for Frances Langford (beloved by World War II GIs for her performances overseas with Bob Hope’s USO Tours) as she portrays Ann in Beat the Band. Phillip Terry (The Lost Weekend) plays Damon, Ralph Edwards (TV ‘s This Is Your Life) provides comedy fun as a scheming band rep and Gene Krupa isn’t just on the nightclub’s bill – he’s in the movie with a red-hot “Shadow Rhapsody” and more.
Jack Lemmon stars as a successful businessman who loves to work, and makes millions doing it, while his son Michael (Jonathan Silverman) is happy just sitting back and having it made. So dad decides to teach him a lesson by giving away every dollar of his hard earned fortune, but comedy ensues when the lesson backfires. Although his mistress (Joanna Gleason) remains loyal, his wife (Talia Shire) is finding it a struggle, and Michael shows no interest whatsoever in finding a job. So now it’s up to Dad to make his millions all over again — but times have changed. Making it all over proves a lot harder than making it the first time around as Jack Lemmon proves in this comedy with a million dollars and a million laughs.
Meet Ben Cluett (John Lithgow). Once he was the top salesman in the territory, now he’s in a slump. To snap him out of it, Ben’s boss teams him with eager rookie Billy Fox (Jonathan Silverman), and a routine sales trip soon turns into an outrageous journey full of unplanned detours (a frat house Mardi Gras beer blast) and rougher than usual roads (Billy is after Ben’s job). It’s not all downhill, though. Ben meets Joanna Reath (Margaret Colin), a beautiful stranger who shows him that it’s never too late to find love and happiness-you just have to take the right exit. Irvin Kershner directed this poignant comedy.
Judge Reinhold, Rick Moranis, Jane Seymour, Wallace Shawn, Danny DeVito and Don King are out to make it big in the world of big business in the outrageous comedy HEAD OFFICE. Inc. International makes everything from hair removal cream to nuclear warhead. They’re a global power, with enough cash flow to run or ruin a small South American country even a big one. The secret of how to make it there- or at any major corporation- is played out in the shamelessly hilarious and scruple-free HEAD OFFICE. From the senator’s son with a conscience to the chairman of the board without one, from women who sleep their way to the top to the guys who cheat their way there, from bribing dictators to taking dictation, there are many ways to make it – and lose it – in corporate America. Just don’t wear brown shoes with a blue suit.
Which rarely screened comedy has what Gene Kelly calls some of his favorite dance creations? That’s right: Living in a Big Way. This 1947 movie is Kelly in a big way. Like many postwar films, Living in a Big Way embraces a familiar theme: the plight of the returning servicemen. Kelly returns home to the war bride he scarcely knows and finds she has misgivings about their impulsive nuptials. While sorting out this personal problem, he involves himself in a public one: construction of housing for the huge number of homeless vets. Marie McDonald plays Kelly’s bride (a role Louis B. Mayer hoped would launch her on a Lana Turner-type career). But the film’s true focal point is Kelly. You’ll see him cavorting with a clever dog, wooing a statue, scampering across the beams of an uncompleted apartment and joining children in a medley of games.
Young Pinkie Wingate (Judy Garland) and her pal Buzz (Freddie Bartholomew) will do anything to stop Pinkie’s widowed mother (Mary Astor) from entering into a loveless marriage with the town’s fuddy-duddy banker (Gene Lockhart) – including kidnapping! They stow mom in a travel trailer and hit the road, looking for one good man to say “I do.” In the best romantic-comedy fashion, they find two: a carefree amateur photographer (Walter Pidgeon) and a wealthy businessman (Alan Hale). Garland, whose next film would be the beloved The Wizard of Oz, and Bartholomew (David Copperfield, Captains Courageous) make a winning pair as they take aim with Cupid’s bow in Listen, Darling. Garland sings “On the Bumpy Road to Love,” “Ten Pins in the Sky” and “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” a tune she reprised to the audience’s cheers in her legendary 1961 concert at Carnegie Hall.
The “Housing Shortage Comedy” might have been a short-lived sub-genre of World War II-era comedy, but it produced some gems in its short lifespan. Among them is this antic, code-provoking jewel from Monogram Pictures starring Simone Simon (Cat People). Quebec-native Kathie Aumont (Simon) finds herself sans shelter in Washington, D.C. Striking sparks with a shipping-out Marine (William Terry), Kathie convinces the handsome leatherneck to sub-let his place to her. But he neglects to tell her he has lent his keys out to a veritable squadron of fly-by-night soldiers – including a CPO looking to rendezvous with his bride (Robert Mitchum) and a buddy (James Ellison) who strikes some sparks with Kathie all on his own. As the action amps up into screwball mix-ups and mishaps, many the work of an actual gremlin (voiced by an uncredited Mel Blanc), we eventually end up in court where a corker of a surprise ending awaits all.
Some real Hollywood heavyweights join forces to make this light – but true- comedy about a clown, a lion, and the US Army. After Fearless Fagan’s story was recounted in Life magazine, Hollywood pounced on the chance to bring the big pussycat to the public. Stanley Donen, fresh off the smash hit Singin’ in the Rain, took the reins, with famed screen scribe Charles Lederer (His Girl Friday) pitching in on the patter. Janet Leigh brought the glam, while a lion named Fearless Fagan delivered a roar’s worth of charm and comedy playing himself. When carnival clown Floyd Hilston (Carleton Carpenter) gets drafted, he shows up at the army base with an unusual companion in tow – the tame lion he has raised since birth. Unable to find an appropriate caretaker for his feline ward, Floyd must convince his superior, Sgt. Kellwin (Keenan Wynn), to give him time to find Fearless Fagan a home.
Three classic films from the immortal film clown Buster Keaton. PARLOR, BEDROOM AND BATH – One of the first sound films starring Keaton, this film is an uproarious and naughty pre-code farce based on a beloved play by Charles W. Bell and Mark Swan. SPEAK EASILY – “One of Keaton’s best talkies” says critic Leonard Maltin of this zany tale, which serves as a reminder that the career of the legendary silent clown did not end with the coming of sound. THE PASSIONATE PLUMBER – Keaton plays a Parisian plumber who is summoned by a socialite to fix her shower and ends up falling in love. Costarring with Keaton in this madcap comedy is Jimmy Durante.
Divorced working mother Christine Campbell (Emmy® winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Seinfeld) attempts to juggle the daily stresses of motherhood and business – which doesn’t mean she isn’t prone to taking NyQuil to get to sleep or leaving voicemail messages to herself in the middle of the night. In the fifth season of this hilarious comedy, Christine and Barb (Emmy® winner Wanda Sykes) go to the Bahamas to sort out Barb’s immigration woes, but find that Barb’s only solution might just be to marry . Richard (Clark Gregg)? Richard, meanwhile, is trying to woo New Christine (Emily Rutherfurd) after being left at the altar. And, as Ritchie (Trevor Gagnon) enters middle school, Christine finds the “Meanie Moms” are as present as ever. Notable guest stars include Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) as a therapist at Matthew’s practice and Dave Foley (NewsRadio, Kids in the Hall). The series is executive produced by Kari Lizer (Will & Grace) and Andy Ackerman (Seinfeld).
At the height of their powers – and the height of the infamous Dust Bowl Disaster – comedy team supreme Wheeler and Woolsey brought The Rainmakers to a laugh-parched public. As Roscoe the Rainmaker and his sidekick, destitute farmer Billy, Woolsey and Wheeler play a pair of unlikely saviors to the desperate, draught afflicted town of Lima Junction, Ca. Armed with his patented Magno-Magnetizer, Roscoe is ready to deliver the badly needed cloudburst Lima Junction needs while Billy is ready to romance banker’s daughter Margie (Dorothy Lee). Unfortunately for the pair, wealthy land speculating farmer Simon Parker (Berton Churchill) and his son Orville (George Meeker) have their own designs on the land and lady. Finding themselves sabotaged, Billy and Roscoe fight back the best way possible: by staging a train wreck!
Lethal Weapon (1987) With over seven minutes of previously unavailable scenes, the director’s cut of Lethal Weapon is a long-overdue present for fans. Riggs’s solitary homelife and the tragic loss spurring him in a reckless disregard for his own safety now come into greater focus. We see that recklessness is new scenes underlining the differences between the two cops. Murtaugh, just 50, needs reassurance about his skills at a firing range. Riggs, not caring if he sees another birthday, coolly walks into a schoolyard sniper’s field of fire. All the humor and adrenaline that made this original an entertainment milestone are here, too. No scenes have been removed. But new action and new insight are now included. Include yourself in the excitement.Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) Riggs wows the pretties of a hotel spa before getting to Getz. Murtaugh receives bad bodywork news from an auto repairman after his beleaguered station wagon sees some Riggs-piloted street action. Plus, feisty Leo shares a newly included scene in which he recalls a suspect’s address by complex spins of numbers that, well, no one can tell it like Leo. And no one would follow his lead but Riggs and Murtaugh. It’s police procedure, Lethal style. And it’s yours to enjoy as the duo draws a bead on criminals hiding behind diplomatic immunity.Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) Riggs and Murtaugh are back again. This time, they must stop a former cop who has become an arms dealer to L.A. street gangs.Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) Mel Gibson and Danny Glover return as buddy cops Riggs and Murtaugh, with Joe Pesci riding comedy shotgun as chatterbox Leo. Murtaugh is still the family man. Riggs is still the gonzo loose cannon and – what’s this? – family man. His will-he/won’t he marriage to Cole (Rene Russo) is one of the new wrinkles in this powerhouse crowd-pleaser that also stars comedy favorite Chris Rock and international action star Jet Li. This sequel involves an action packed battle with a Chinese ganglord.
This wacky vaudeville-style romp casts the irreverent comedy team as feuding co-owners of a drug company, William “Willy” Hobbs (Wheeler) and Claude Augustus Horton (Woolsey), who agree to wrestle each other for the sole ownership of the business. The winner will take the company and the loser must become the other’s valet for a year. But when Hobbs loses, he sends his wife to Florida and schemes to trick Horton. What follows are hilarious hijinks as only Wheeler and Woolsey can pull off!