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The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results

 
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The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 10:40:44 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
Going to be running down the results of the comedy poll in this thread, can any discussion be kept to the other thread

http://www.empireonline.com/forum/tm.asp?m=3029372

until the countdown is finished, please?

Films needed to make at least three lists to get into the top 100. Number 100 will be up shortly.

100. Harold and Maude (1971; Hal Ashby)
99. Remember the Night (1940; Mitchell Leisen)
98. Presto (2008; Doug Sweetland)
97. Local Hero (1983; Bill Forsyth)
96. Easy Living (1937; Mitchell Leisen)
95. The Blues Brothers (1980; John Landis)
94. Heathers (1989; Michael Lehmann)
93. Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (1980; Steve Roberts)
92. Bad Luck Blackie (1949; Tex Avery)
91. The Cat and the Canary (1939; Elliot Nugent)
90. Trading Places (1983; John Landis)
89. It Happened One Night (1934; Frank Capra)
88. The Shop Around the Corner (1940; Ernst Lubitsch)
87. Tootsie (1982; Sydney Pollack)
86. Singin' in the Rain (1952; Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen)
85. The 'burbs (1989; Joe Dante)
84. When Harry Met Sally (1989; Rob Reiner)
83. Clue (1985; Jonathan Lynn)
82. The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004; Stephen Hillenburg)
81. Bedazzled (1967; Stanley Donen)
80. Fast and Furry-ous (1949; Chuck Jones)
79. The Kid (1921; Charles Chaplin)
78. In Bruges (2008; Martin McDonagh)
77. The Philadelphia Story (1940; George Cukor)
76. Magical Maestro (1952; Tex Avery)
75. Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979; Jeff Margolis)
74. Our Hospitality (1923; John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton)
73. The Awful Truth (1937; Leo McCarey)
72. The Fortune Cookie (1966; Billy Wilder)
71. Four Lions (2010; Chris Morris)
70. Sons of the Desert (1933; William A. Seiter)
69. Back to the Future (1985; Robert Zemeckis)
68. City Lights (1931; Charles Chaplin)
67. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987; John Hughes)
66. Rabbit of Seville (1950; Chuck Jones)
65. The Gold Rush (1924; Charles Chaplin)
64. To Be Or Not to Be (1942; Ernst Lubitsch)
63. Scrooged (1988; Richard Donner)
62. The Palm Beach Story (1942; Preston Sturges)
61. Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928; Buster Keaton, Charles Reisner)
60. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005; Nick Park)
59. The Princess Bride (1987; Rob Reiner)
58. Rushmore (1998; Wes Anderson)
57. Gregory's Girl (1981; Bill Forsyth)
56. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004; Adam McKay)
55. The Lady Eve (1941; Preston Sturges)
54. Midnight Run (1988; Martin Brest)
53. The Jerk (1979; Carl Reiner)
52. What's Opera, Doc? (1957; Chuck Jones)
51. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999; Trey Parker)
50. Annie Hall (1977; Woody Allen)
49. A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008; Nick Park)
48. Quiet Please (1945; William Hanna, Joseph Barbera)
47. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010; Edgar Wright)
46. Modern Times (1936; Charles Chaplin)
45. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986; Woody Allen)
44. A Close Shave (1995; Nick Park)
43. The Evil Dead 2 (1987; Sam Raimi)
42. A Town Called Panic (2009; Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar)
41. One Froggy Evening (1955; Chuck Jones)
40. Sherlock Jr. (1924; Buster Keaton)
39. The Man with Two Brains (1983; Carl Reiner)
38. The Cat Concerto (1947; William Hanna, Joseph Barbera)
37. Ghostbusters (1984; Ivan Reitman)
36. The Graduate (1967; Mike Nichols)
35. A Shot in the Dark (1964; Blake Edwards)
34. Sleeper (1973; Woody Allen)
33. Monsters, Inc. (2001; Pete Docter)
32. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944; Frank Capra)
31. A Fish Called Wanda (1988; Charles Crichton)
30. Batman: The Movie (1966; Leslie H. Martinson)
29. After the Thin Man (1936; W.S. Van Dyke)
28. The Apartment (1960; Billy Wilder)
27. The Producers (1968; Mel Brooks)
26. Way Out West (1937; James W. Horne)
25. In the Loop (2009; Armando Iannucci)
24. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949; Robert Hamer)
23. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988; David Zucker)
22. Young Frankenstein (1974; Mel Brooks)
21. Withnail and I (1987; Bruce Robinson)
20. The Music Box (1932; James Parrott)
19. Duck Soup (1933; Leo McCarey)
18. Duck Amuck (1953; Chuck Jones)
17. Shaun of the Dead (2004; Edgar Wright)
16. This Is Spinal Tap (1984; Rob Reiner)
15. The Big Lebowski (1998; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
14. The Odd Couple (1968; Gene Saks)
13. Blazing Saddles (1974; Mel Brooks)
12. Airplane! (1980; Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)
11. Bringing Up Baby (1938; Howard Hawks)
10. The Thin Man (1934; W.S. Van Dyke)
9. His Girl Friday (1940; Howard Hawks)
8. The General (1926; Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman)
7. The Wrong Trousers (1993; Nick Park)
6. Dr. Strangelove (1964; Stanley Kubrick)
5. Groundhog Day (1993; Harold Ramis)
4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975; Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam)
3. The Ladykillers (1955; Alexander Mackendrick)
2. Some Like It Hot (1959; Billy Wilder)
1. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979; Terry Jones)


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 20/5/2011 11:22:01 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 10:42:49 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
100.
Harold and Maude
(1971; Hal Ashby)



Probably the definition of a cult comedy, this Hal Ashby masterpiece is a darkly comic love story between Harold (Bud Cort), a wealthy young man who only really feels alive when faking his own death, and Maude (Ruth Gordon), a 79 year old who seems filled with the joy of life. Harold's socialite mother (a wonderfully snobby Vivian Pickles) has decided Harold needs to settle down and find a wife, as long as the wife is the correct one. But every attempt she makes to introduce him to the right kind of girl is met with another faked suicide. Harold's obsession with death extends beyond that, he drives a hearse and attends the funerals of complete strangers. At one funeral he meets Maude and the two form a friendship where she attempts to teach him the need to make the most of his life. Both characters are outsiders, Maude has experienced great horror (she's an Auschwitz survivor) and decided to live life on her own terms, while Harold is the typical alienated youth hero of his era, suffocated by the society around him who try to live his life for him. Ruth Gordon gives her finest performance here, outstripping even her Oscar winning turn in Rosemary's Baby, while Cort gives another great quirky outsider performance. In the hands of a lesser talent than Ashby this kind of material would have just been crass and silly, here it's given great depth and charm. There's also a fantastic soundtrack from Cat Stevens.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 2
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 11:14:46 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
99.
Remember the Night
(1940; Mitchell Leisen)



One of the great romantic comedies and Christmas films, Remember the Night stars Fred MacMurray as a prosecution attorney intent on sending shoplifter Barbara Stanwyck to jail. When the case is postponed over the Christmas period he gets tender-hearted and has her released on bail and then takes her to spend an old-fashioned Christmas with his family. Not the most legally sound decision but I'm sure most guys would bend the rules for Stanwyck. While it's an easy prediction to make that they'll fall in love some time over the holiday period, the path the film takes to get you there is far from predictable. Credit has to go to the clever script by Preston Sturges for never pandering or taking obvious paths, but it's Stanwyck and MacMurray that make the film so irresistible. They're up there with Arthur and McCrea, Grant and Dunne, Powell and Loy or Stewart and Sullavan as one of those screen couples that don't just have chemistry but seem somehow made for each other. The film is so magical that even a sentimental sing-song around the piano becomes touching rather than cloying. Pretty damn perfect.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 3
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 11:31:51 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
98.
Presto
(2008; Doug Sweetland)



This spectacular homage to classic cartoons stars a cute little bunny named Alec who desperately wants a carrot. The only problem is that he's due on stage as part of a magic act with Presto the magician. Presto needs Alec to perform the traditional 'rabbit out of a hat' trick, but Alec can see some carrots waiting in the wings and he's determined to get them. Presto's top hat is linked to another magic hat, and when he reaches into one, his hand appears through the other, no matter how far away, and when he tries to grab Alec it gives the crafty little bunny the opportunity to cause mayhem. Over the course of seven minutes, Presto is electrocuted, sucked into a vacuum, caught in a mouse trap, slammed into a ladder and maimed in any other way Alec can think of. The short becomes a running battle between a frustrated William Powell-esque magician and one ravenous rabbit.

An obvious tribute to not just Bugs Bunny cartoons, but also the shorts of Tex Avery, (there's a definite hint of Magical Maestro about this), it also uses Avery's repetition and enhancement of a joke routine that he perfected in cartoons like Bad Luck Blackie. While it may never reach the same glorious heights as its inspirations, it's a hilarious and anarchic short and Alec and Presto have plenty of potential to appear in other shorts and even become a running double-act for Pixar.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 4
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 11:49:26 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
97.
Local Hero
(1983; Bill Forsyth)



One of the reasons why I think Bill Forsyth's early 80s films are so popular is they manage to capture a simple and pure joy in living. Characters find their happiness in strange and unusual, and sometimes mundane, places and the films are better for that.  Local Hero sees Burt Lancaster take a supporting role as a Texas oil millionaire, Felix Happer. Happer wants to buy a small village on the coast of Scotland to build a new oil refinery. He sends one of his execs, "Mac" MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) to close the deal, with special instructions to watch the sky for unusual astronomical activity (Happer is also an astronomy nut). Mac meets with local rep Danny (a young and geeky Peter Capaldi). During his weeks there, Mac begins to develop a deep love for the small community and an appreciation for its way of life. What he doesn't realise is that the villagers would love to sell up, but they don't want to seem too keen in the hopes of increasing any offer. The sale hits a snag when it's realised that the beach is actually owned by a hermit-like Beachcomber. What could have been sentimental and silly becomes heartfelt, moving and filled with quirky charm. The performances are fantastic (especially Fulton Mackay) and Chris Menges' astonishing cinematography makes great use of the Scottish coast.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 5
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 12:45:34 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
96.
Easy Living
(1937; Mitchell Leisen)



The film opens as notorious banker J.B. Ball (Edward Arnold) and his wife Jenny (Mary Nash) are having an argument over her extravagance, an argument Arnold ends by throwing her new, incredibly expensive, fur-coat off their balcony. This happens to be at exactly the same moment as an open-top bus is passing underneath, carrying Mary Smith (Jean Arthur) to work. The coat hits her and kicks off a string of events that begins with Arnold buying her a hat to go with the coat and follows through her getting fired from her job whereupon she ends up living in the penthouse of a swanky, but failing, hotel and being romanced by Arnold's son, John Ball Jr. (Ray Milland) who she thinks is a busboy, before culminating with her nearly causing a stock market disaster. It's simply one of the most charming of all the screwball comedies, as a string of mistaken identities and unexpected events build to one glorious muddle with Arthur absolutely enchanting as the naive Mary Smith. I think my favourite ever Jean Arthur moment comes from Easy Living, when you discover her kind-hearted approach to opening a piggy bank. There's also excellent support from Milland, Arnold and William Demarest's gossip columnist. Nearly stealing the entire show is Luis Alberni as the hotel manager desperate to keep his business afloat.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 6
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 1:34:26 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
95.
The Blues Brothers
(1980; John Landis)



Landis' endless in-joke smash-em-up is one of the pedigree SNL spin offs and has deserved every one of its hard earnt years of growing fondness. It's silly, endlessly quotable, cameo tastic, and with some great musical interludes (it must be reiterated, though, that it's NOT a musical) and, surprisingly, greatly improved by the even longer director's cut (which reintroduces some great jokes, entire sub-plots, and explains plot holes already in existence).

- great_badir

It almost feels like a cheat putting this in here, because it's not so much about the power of cinema, but more about the absolute genius of Ray Charles at his finest. Jake and Elwood are on a mission to save their old school when they run into Ray running an independent music shop. And after a great joke involving a shotgun that plays on his blindness, Ray kicks off an absolutely stomping version of Shake Your Tailfeather that gets everybody in the shop and out on the street dancing along. There's not a lot else you can say about it, really, except that if you're not tapping your feet along and itching to jump and dance along with Jake, Elwood and the rest of them, then check your pulse because you're probably dead. Just a glorious celebration of all that is great about music.



- Matty_b

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 7
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 1:53:41 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
94.
Heathers
(1989; Michael Lehmann)



I can imagine there was a lot of controversy about Heathers when it was released considering its plot revolves around the apparent glamorisation of teen suicide. However, as is nearly always the case, there is more than meets the eye. It is more about the cliques of high school life, and to a lesser extent the insincerity of some people when they are confronted with death.

In Westerburg High School, the Heathers rule with an iron fist, making life hell for whoever they consider to be a loser. One of the girls, Veronica (Winona Ryder), is tired with this life and is torn between being a popular and actually being a nice person. It is at this point she meets JD (Christian Slater), a James Dean-esque new student, and they are immediately infatuated with each other. The film really gets going here as the couple accidentally kill the leader of the Heathers and semi-intentionally (on Veronica’s part at least) kill two homophobic footballers, and manage to make them look like suicides.

The aftermath of these killings is realised very well. They are lionised after their death and their general nastiness is forgotten about in a sea of faux grief (“Suicide gave Heather depth, Kurt a soul, and Ram a brain”), and their suicides are seen as some sort of hip movement. The adults are possibly even worse, with teachers arguing over how much time given for students to grieve (“I'd be willing to go half a day for a cheerleader”).
While there is solid support the film is carried by its two leads. Ryder is genuinely excellent as the girl with the vague ambition to change the social order at her school, but without the will to do it. Even better perhaps is Christian Slater, the outsider who has an undercurrent of crazy just waiting to bubble up to the surface.

While it runs out of steam near the end and some of the dialog is a bit grating, it’s still a really witty film and its influence can still be felt today whether it be in films like Mean Girls or the scripts of Diablo Cody. I definitely think everyone should watch this at least once.



- paul_ie86

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 8
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 2:16:17 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
93.
Sir Henry at Rawlinson End
(1980; Steve Roberts)



Eccentric, racist, sexist, drunken aristocrat Sir Henry Rawlinson spends his days drinking and lamenting the decline of the British Empire and the campaigns he fought on foreign soil, usually shot through with racist attacks on all other cultures. He also has problems. The German prisoners of war he keeps in a private camp at the bottom of his garden are trying to escape. The ghost of his brother Humbert, who died while committing adultery during hunting season, roams the house searching for his trousers. Ralph Rawlinson plays billiards on horseback. And a crooked clergyman and a cockney spiv decide there's money to be made at Rawlinson End. In order to keep up with his master's demands, Old Scrotum, the Wrinkled Retainer, has to scale the outside of the mansion to reach him in time and avoid a pistol-whipping. His cook, Mrs. E, has to sleep in her uniform so that she can be out of bed and cooking the second he demands his breakfast. Henry's wife, Florrie, is knitting a stair carpet and spends her time remembering when Henry was a more kindly soul, such as when he shot a gardener who broke his leg because he couldn't stand to see a dumb animal in pain.

Imagine Bertie Wooster got old, racist and drunk, moved into Gormenghast and then had his life story written by a teaming of Monty Python, The Goons and Peter Cook and then filmed by Luis Bunuel and produced by Ealing and you have some idea of the oddity of this brilliant and bewildering film. Vivian Stanshall was one of the great eccentrics, in addition to the music he created with The Bonzo Dog Band (house band for the Python precursor, Do Not Adjust Your Set), Stanshall is also responsible for Rawlinson End and the grotesque family who live there. Sir Henry started life on the John Peel show, Stanshall was a frequent guest and he'd often delight listeners with the latest instalment in the escapades of Rawlinson End. Stanshall's delight in wordplay and talent with accent and voices brought the crazed family to life. The radio series led to an album and the album led to the film. I think the film could be difficult for newcomers. It's so clever and brilliant with its language that unless you're already familiar with it, the stream-of-conscious lunacy could go over your head. I've also known some call it racist, which is just idiotic. The film, and the original radio episodes, were satires of the colonial mindset where people thought they were somehow superior based on class or race, it condemns it, it doesn't celebrate it.

Casting Trevor Howard might have been seen as an unusual move, but it's a truly surprising performance and one that I have no problem in calling a career-best. And the rest of the cast are note perfect, with Patrick Magee being an obvious stand-out. The film is also beautiful to look at, with rich sepia cinematography and glorious art-direction. If you're at all interested in British comedy, you know to become familiar with Stanshall's world. Rawlinson End influenced everyone from Chris Morris to Stephen Fry and the comedy landscape wouldn't be the same without Sir Henry.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 9
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 2:29:17 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
92.
Bad Luck Blackie
(1949; Tex Avery)



A cute little all white kitten is being bullied by a sadistic bulldog. The bulldog does everything it can think of make to make life miserable for the kitten. The kitten meets Blackie, a black cat who offers his services in helping deal with the bulldog. He gives the kitten a whistle and tells him that anytime he needs him he can just blow the whistle. Every time the dog turns nasty, the kitten blows the whistle and Blackie crosses the dog's path. Causing a larger and larger series of objects to fall on the dog's head, starting with a flowerpot and ending with a battleship. The entire short is just variations of this procedure, following a rule that you can see in other Avery shorts like King-Size Canary, repeat the action but increase the scale each time and it just gets funnier and funnier. Despite how often the word anarchy is used when discussing Avery, it's an incredibly logical cartoon. It may not make any realistic sense, but it makes sense by the logic of the cartoon. Although it has some stiff competition, it's my favourite Avery and seven of the funniest minutes of animation ever created.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 10
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 8/5/2011 2:33:12 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
91.
The Cat and the Canary
(1939; Elliot Nugent)



Not the first of the old dark house films, or even the first of the Cat and the Canary films, but it's certainly one of the most memorable. As usual, a family is gathered at the house for the reading of a will. Joyce (Paulette Godard) inherits the estate, with the condition that she loses it if she dies or is insane. Of course, the rest of the film is spent with someone trying to kill  her or drive her insane.  Luckily she has Bob Hope on hand to help protect her and crack a few jokes along the way. How much you like this film will no doubt depend on your tolerance for Bob Hope. Personally, I was always a big fan. A dick of a man, but a great comedy actor. Like the best comedy-horrors, Hope's horror efforts (this and The Ghost Breakers) actually tried to be atmospheric and scary when they needed to be, rather than mocking the horror standards. Not as good as Leni's late 20s version, or the more explicit late 70s film, but it's one of the best horror comedies of its time.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 11
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 9/5/2011 2:49:27 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
90.
Trading Places
(1983; John Landis)



Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) has wealth, power, an attractive fiancée, and a job at a successful company, working for the Duke brothers, Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche). Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) has nothing, he's a dirt-poor hustler, who gets arrested early in the film because Winthorpe insists he tried to rob him. Unknown to both, The Duke Brothers make a bet on the issue of nature versus nurture to see if they can make a gentleman out of Billy Ray and a criminal out of Louis. To do so, they have Louis arrested for theft and drugs, fired from his job, thrown out of his house and left penniless, while Billy Ray is hired and given access to all of Louis' belongings. When Billy Ray discovers the Dukes' scheme, he and Louis, with the help of a prostitute named Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Winthorpe's former butler, Coleman (Denholm Elliott) start to look for revenge. Probably the best film Eddie Murphy ever made, it's also a wonderful reminder of the time when Dan Aykroyd was rightly considered a comedy genius. There's also a series of flawless supporting performances, with Elliott especially deserving praise. It's a little sad to see how much talent from this film (both male leads, the female lead and the director) have been wasted down the years, but it's still one of the greatest comedies ever made.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 12
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 9/5/2011 3:13:11 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
89.
It Happened One Night
(1934; Frank Capra)




The first film to win the so-called "grand slam" at the Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay), It Happened One Night is a romantic comedy which is often said to be the first screwball comedy. Spoiled Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) flees from her rich, overbearing father who wants to annul her marriage to a millionaire playboy. She has never had to fend for herself and is used to the good things in life, so the detectives her father has employed scoff at the idea she might escape using a bus. They're wrong and on the bus she meets unemployed newsman Peter Warne (Clark Gable). The sparks fly immediately as they bicker their way through the journey. Nevertheless they team up to share their few dollars between them and end up on a madcap trip involving missed buses, shared motel rooms (with a blanket Warne refers to as the "walls of Jericho" separating their beds), finally ending up on foot and having to hitchhike.

It Happened One Night was supposed to be a failure. Myrna Loy turned down the lead as a recent film set on a bus had failed. Colbert disliked the film and Gable is reputed to have turned up on set on the first day saying, "Let's get this over with." Only Frank Capra seemed to believe in the film and he was right to.

Capra seems to have been the only one who believed in the film - Colbert was not his first choice and she was very reluctant to take the role. Gable was loaned to him, and played against character throughout. Shot in four weeks and on a low budget, Capra and Gable wrung a reluctant performance from Colbert - despite her resistance to the part, she delivers an excellent performance. The film gently disparages the rich, spoiled background of the heiress - the film starts with Colbert on hunger strike, but on the bus journey she will meet people who are actually starving because they have no money. Capra was always able to capture that love-hate relationship between the popular audience and images of the rich.

Capra handles the narrative with expertise, giving the audience time to understand the dynamic between the two characters. He blends drama with comedy with romance. Despite its age, the film continues to work as a delightful story, superbly performed and directed, with timeless humour and compassion. It may be the oldest film in my collection, but It Happened One Night is one I watch often and it is certainly a worthy film.



- Nomimalone. 

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 13
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 9/5/2011 10:48:21 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
88.
The Shop Around the Corner
(1940; Ernst Lubitsch)



In a small shop, Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and Clara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) are co-workers who can't stand the sight of each other. They're also both in letter-writing relationships with their perfect other, an anonymous person who appears to be their soul-mate. Of course, they're writing to each other without knowing it and their battles are really just suppressed attraction to each other.

Despite how the premise may make it sound, The Shop Around the Corner isn't really part of the love-hate knockabout screwball farce sub-genre. It's more bittersweet and somewhat understated, relying on the beautifully eloquent and intelligent dialogue to allow the characters to express their feelings to each other. It's also a lot more emotional than you may expect. Stewart and Sullavan are both at the top of their game here and they becomes one of the screen's most perfect couples, just made to yearn for each other. The rest of the cast are also strong, with Frank Morgan deserving of special mention as the shop's short-tempered but good-natured owner.

The film works because Lubitsch believes in his characters so strongly. He allows the film to unfold at its own pace, never rushing the need for the characters to find each other and making every event true to them rather than for a desire for something to happen. It's a wonderfully subtle and ultimately uplifting piece of cinema that for me represents the pinnacle of Lubitsch's career.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 14
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 9/5/2011 11:41:06 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
87.
Tootsie
(1982; Sydney Pollack)



It's deliciously fitting that it's Dustin Hoffman in the central role of struggling actor Michael Dorsey, an actor struggling because of his argumentative streak with directors and fellow actors. Hoffman is notorious for his intense and combative way of working, and so is therefore a perfect fit for an actor who, hilariously, has a fit of rage over the logical way of playing a tomato. He's also quite brilliant and convincing as Dorothy Michaels, the woman he dresses up as to fake his way into daytime hospital soap. In fact, all the cast are quite superb - Bill Murray as his sardonic flatmate with a permanently raised eyebrow at his crossdressing antics, Teri Garr as his best friend and fellow struggler, Dabney Coleman as the sleazy director Michael/Dorothy ends up working for and Charles Durning as the father of his co-star, Jessica Lange, who develops a substantial crush on Dorothy. The only mystery is that the one person to walk away with an Oscar in this was Lange, when Garr was the far more deserving nominee in the category. Anyway, it's full of great lines, superb comic moments and Pollack's direction is light and zippy making this one of the best studio comedies of the 80s.



- Matty_b

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Post #: 15
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 9/5/2011 12:05:06 PM   
rawlinson

 

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Joined: 13/6/2008
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86.
Singing in the Rain
(1952; Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen)



Singin' in the Rain is often held up as the apex of Hollywood's musical moviemaking and it isn't hard to see why. It has several of the best numbers ever put on screen – the title song, The 'Broadway Melody' production number, Donald O'Connor's comic tour-de-force, 'Make 'em Laugh' and his 'Moses Supposes' dance routine with Gene Kelly – and precisely no filler. The songs, all of which were written for previous productions, are seamlessly integrated into the endlessly amusing script, which was written by MGM's top scribes Betty Comden and Adolph Green (their efforts are less acidic than usual and all the better for it). Gene Kelly is the silent swashbuckler whose career looks to have been derailed by the advent of talking pictures, until new girlfriend Debbie Reynolds encourages him to turn his latest movie into a song-and-dance extravaganza. Of course deluded co-star Jean Hagen (in a hysterical, movie-thieving performance) isn't so keen, since she has a voice like a stuck cat. Beguiling leads, inspired direction (from Kelly and regular collaborator Stanley Donen) and uproarious supporting turns from Hagen and wisecracking, goofing livewire Donald O'Connor provide a fine frame for some of the best musical bits ever put on film.

Favourite bit: The title number, gloriously choreographed and performed by Kelly. He's dancing in heavily diluted milk, incidentally, since water wouldn't show up on camera. 



- Rick_7.

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Post #: 16
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 9/5/2011 12:15:45 PM   
rawlinson

 

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85
The 'burbs
(1989; Joe Dante)



The best way I can describe The Burbs is that its probably the ultimate horror film that all the family can watch.  Joe Dante is probably the only director alive that can get the balance of horror right when it comes family orientated scares and while his 1989 effort does not quite match the chill of last years The Hole, its still an almighty fun film that is now regarded as one of the best cult movies of all time.

The fun is because in between the gentle fare, a dark side emerges, given the viewer a glimpse of sublime horror but then just has it pokes it head out, it goes back into the shadows, The Burbs is a rightful tease that would frustrate if it was not for the huge beaming smile that you had across your face.  It helps that the film is rich full of talent that you can not help but love.  Tom Hanks was beginning to test the water away from the likes of Big and while the world was not yet ready for his life of a box of chocolates or his trip into space, The Burbs was a great middle ground to move into adult fare.

Yet The Burbs for all its dark side starts like a normal film, one of Parenthood comparisons that fools you into thinking of a sitcom setting, where the laughs would come from adult set-pieces and of Tom acting a fool.  If you have never seen the film before or even set eyes on it, then you be surprised at how quickly the film changes tone.  We start with a look at the burbs, the street in which Ray (Hanks) is standing outside, talking in the chaos that surrounds him.  We see a combat wearing Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) taking care of his lovely green lawn while his wife sunbaths in the background.  His clean lawn ruined by the dog next door who has taken to using it as a toilet which results in an argument with the owner Walter (Gale Gordon) who wears the most ridiculous toupee in cinema history.  This feud first thing in the morning, upsets Rumsfield's usual tradition of raising the American Flag which stands proud on a pole outside his house.

Also watching all this unfold is Art (Rick Ducoommun) Ray's friend, who spends all day drinking and nothing else.  The very young Corey Feldman lives further down the street, his character Ricky likes to party and cause mischief but a good boy at heart.  Its a mixture of characters that you can help but feel the energy come from the screen, the chemistry is electric and one of the reasons why the film is still popular to this day, if the actors seem to be having fun, then it transcends through the screen and it seems through out that Hanks and Dern are really having a blast.

The chaotic life that lives on that street seems calm until the only house which is empty gets new residents and what started as a mid life crisis comedy soon transpires into something else all together.

The moment the difference of tone starts to develop you can pin point, its what sets The Burbs from a typical comedy to that of something special.  I am talking about the night scene in which after the residents move in and the regulars try to guess who are they and what they like, Art turns to Ray and starts to tell him a story about a local Ice Cream Seller who went by the name Skip.  One of the greatest moments in horror is the time when Phoebe Cates tells the story of when her father tried to surprise her one Christmas in Dante's earlier effort Gremlins.  It really is a dark and quite disturbing moment and one that everyone remembers for it being so "dark" in film that was being tagged for children.  Kudos towards Dante for nearly matching that effort, because when Ray starts to tell the story of Skip, its a time for all horror fans to rejoice and somehow the film grabs hold and shakes out the build up of comedy and sprinkles the dark side that you can not help but marvel.

The Klopeks move in and soon strange noises are heard in the middle of the night,  The guess work begins and soon the film shows the power of the imagination.  Who are these people?  What are they doing in that house?  Its plays on the human instinct.  Everyone who has lived on the same street for years are always wary when new people arrive, and its a need for you to know their in and outs, so when they keep themselves to themselves, its only a matter of time that rumours begin.  Things are not helped when a toupee is found and Walter is missing and the regulars begin to suspect the Klopeks of wrong doing which results in the gang breaking into their home when they know they are not there, but what mystery lies in the basement, and are Klopeks just normal oddballs or blood thirsty killers?  Its going to be fun to find out!

The film is so simple with design that you can not help but be delighted. An opening logo of the Universal Pictures sign that morphs into the film is the start that you know something special is happening here, and while the lack of blood and probably scenes of gore will make diehard fans judge this as nothing more than a Goosebumps extended episode, they are in fact missing the point.  The intelligence is in the cracking dialogue and the build up of suspense, we also get clever riffs on previous horror classics that will thrill you with delight.  Rosemary's Baby and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are two that come to mind when writing this review.

The Burbs is a showcase of a talent on top of their form, from the cast to the director and its to their credit that for a film twenty two years old, still feels fresh to this day and with the concept of Paranoia running through the veins, how more appropriate to today's standards when all we do is complain  that Big Brother is watching!



- HughesRoss

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Post #: 17
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 9/5/2011 12:51:05 PM   
rawlinson

 

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84.
When Harry Met Sally
(1989; Rob Reiner)



Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) meet on a lengthy road-trip to college. They start off hating each other and (obviously) end up falling in love. Crystal is excellent, as is Bruno Kirby as his best friend. Meg Ryan displays the same level of charm here as she did during her Parkinson interview. Film would desperately like to be Annie Hall.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 18
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 9/5/2011 6:01:50 PM   
rawlinson

 

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Joined: 13/6/2008
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83.
Clue
(1985; Jonathan Lynn)



Based on the board game that surely played a large part of everyone's youth, a group of strangers are invited to an isolated mansion one night. The six guests, along with the butler, maid and cook, are being blackmailed by the mysterious Mr. Boddy. Soon after Boddy arrives, the extent of his blackmail is revealed, and all the guest are presented with a murder object. The lights go out and Boddy is killed. Everybody in the house had the motivation and means to kill Boddy, so who is the murderer? Clue is the kind of film that should have been atrocious, but thanks to some fine casting and a good screenplay it becomes all rather enchanting. It obviously takes its inspiration from old dark house style comedy horrors, and in particular from Neil Simon's excellent Murder by Death, but manages to form its own identity by setting the film against the backdrop of McCarthy era paranoia. With pitch-perfect performances from an excellent cast, with Madeline Kahn, Tim Curry and Michael McKean as the most obvious stand-outs, Clue is atmospheric, hilarious and it never lets the knowing nature of the concept overpower the film itself.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 19
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 10/5/2011 5:13:31 AM   
rawlinson

 

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Joined: 13/6/2008
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82.
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie
(2004; Stephen Hillenburg)




Plankton steals Neptune's crown and frames Krabs, in an attempt to finally get hold of the recipe for Krabby Patties. Only Spongebob and Patrick can save the day. Surreal, hilarious and utterly, utterly awesome.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 20
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 10/5/2011 5:32:02 AM   
rawlinson

 

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81.
Bedazzled
(1967; Stanley Donen)




Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore) is a cook in Wimpeys, in love with Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron), but too shy to ask her out. Frustrated with his life he attempts suicide, then George Spiggott (Peter Cook) appears. George is really The Devil. He's in a competition with God to be the first to win 100 billion souls, if George wins he gets back into Heaven. George offers Stanley the chance to get Margaret, but only if he signs away his soul. He gives Stanley seven wishes, each a chance to get Margaret into his life. But George's trickery and interference spoils things each time. The film is told in episodic form, with each of Stanley's wishes playing out in fantasy sequences where he becomes everything from a fly on a wall to one of the leaping nuns of Norwich.

Cook wrote the script as well as starring, so if you don't like Peter Cook's comedy then you're not going to like Bedazzled. But if you don't like Peter Cook's comedy then you just don't like comedy. Bedazzled is Cook's writing at its finest, sharp, satirical, savage with a whimsical streak. Moore gives his finest acting performance here as the hapless Stanley. It's true that Stanley Donen wasn't exactly a directorial genius, but with a script this strong he doesn't need to be. The feeling you get is of someone who was able to guide two of comedies greatest improvisers to strong character performances. George and Stanley really are just extensions of the common public perception of Pete 'n' Dud. Stanley is a loveable loser while George is brilliant and enigmatic. This is most evident in the superb fantasy sequence with Stanley as a pop star who plays to a shrieking audience of fans, begging them to love him, only to find himself upstaged by George as Drimble Wedge, an aloof and self-obsessed singer.

One of the film's greatest strengths is that it makes both characters likeable and believable. George is the most charming incarnation of The Devil you could ever hope to meet and despite all his trickery you feel you'd like him as a friend. Stanley may be pitiful but he's a nice guy and you can understand his dilemma, what sane man wouldn't sell his soul for Eleanor Bron? Bedazzled is one of the greatest comedy films of all time and the best big screen outing for the genius that was Peter Cook.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 21
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 10/5/2011 12:59:50 PM   
rawlinson

 

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80.
Fast and Furry-ous
(1949; Chuck Jones)



Coyote: Carnivorous Vulgaris
Road-Runner: Accelleratii Incredibus

Orders from ACME
-          Super Outfit (not to be confused with Bat-Man outfit)

(Also includes a series of items from ACE – whether this was in error, I'm not sure).

Much of the action here sets the template for the series as a whole, although the background sets would change a good deal with only the first couple being relatively realistic, particularly in terms of colours – later yellow would predominate. Wile E initially tries to use his own speed to catch the Roadrunner but soon turns to gadgets but, by the time the wrong end of the dynamite blows, you've gotten the point that fate simply hates our beloved protagonist. And you have to note the similar sounds of the failing motor on the refrigerator set-up to the Roadrunners tongue wagging sound as being deliberately mocking. One of the best bits of the cartoon is when the camera pulls further and further back until they become tiny dots speeding round a convoluted motorway network in the middle of the desert, never quite meeting.

So what have we learned so far? Although there were rumours that a list of rules for the shorts suggested that the Road Runner would never do direct harm to Wile E we know this to be blatant falsehood – that most evil of creatures has been, and this is clearly no coincidence, in the cabs of trains that have hurt Wile E, trucks that have hurt Wile E, etc. Out of nowhere he'll pop up behind and shock him deliberately knowing he'll be hurt He started a company to manufacture homicidal catapult machines with the clearly direct intent of harming Wile E. In this short he comes back to hold up the pan lid for Wile E to run into, as well as actually buying a gadget himself, a boomerang, to use against the coyote and later running him down by himself and, 'coincidentally' with a bus he's on.

The little bastard deserves to be eaten, you know.

I am sad that this is as high as the series got in the list, though. Although Jones and Maltese did wonderful work on other Looney Tunes characters – and more of their work is still to come – the fact that these normal length shorts didn't generally have a short length narrative but consisted of joke after joke after joke as Wile E tried to catch his nemesis required imagination and verve and brilliance sustained at a very high level to make these work – so we got cartoons with multiple vignettes, we got longer complex set-ups and we got the cumulative joke as things went wrong again, and again, and again. Unlike all the other characters I think Wile E is the character we empathise with the most. For those who ask why he can't order in with the cash he uses to prop up ACME (and it should be noted that he is later suggested to be a tester for the company) just aren't getting the point. He's the itsy bitsy spider of the Looney Tunes set and the best of all their characters for me.



- Elab49

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Post #: 22
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 10/5/2011 1:09:24 PM   
rawlinson

 

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Joined: 13/6/2008
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79.
The Kid
(1921; Charles Chaplin)




“The Kid”, Chaplin’s first proper feature length film, is nothing short of a miracle. Taking 18 months to shoot, Chaplin amassed an immense amount of footage before cutting over ninety eight per cent of it. What’s left, though, is comic gold. The plot sees the Little Tramp go about his usual day to day business before finding an abandoned baby (played in later childhood by Jackie Coogan). After a few failed attempts to get rid of it, he decides to embrace the child and raise it as his own. However, when the mother becomes a star and wants the kid back, he finds himself tussling to keep hold of what he has become to love. From a comedic standpoint, this is one of Chaplin’s best, with perhaps only “the Circus” being its superior in that department. It goes from funny sequence to funny sequence, and there is very little that fails here. Chaplin’s trademark sentimentality is in tact too, and although the ending is not as wholly happy as you would expect, it’s still sweet enough to make things work. What truly makes this into the film that it is, though, are the fabulous performances. Obviously, Chaplin is as great as you’d expect him to be, doing all of his usual shtick to great effect. He has as a reputation as being better over feature length than shorts, and I’d have to agree with that, because here his comedy has such a richness to it that’s lacking in the few shorts of his that I’ve seen. And then there’s Jackie Coogan, playing the Kid. It’s said on the documentary that Chaplin loved working with Coogan because he could mould him into whatever he liked, and because Coogan was able to replicate his mannerisms to every last nuance. That certainly seems to be the case, and here Chaplin finds himself equalled by a pocket size version of himself. Almost.



-Piles

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Post #: 23
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 10/5/2011 1:22:35 PM   
rawlinson

 

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78.
In Bruges
(2008; Martin McDonagh)




Ray and Ken are Irish hitmen, sent to Bruges (it's in Belgium) after Ray cocks up his first job. This is the set-up for what is possibly one of the funniest films of the last ten years, possessing a script that is almost poetic in its profane, un-PC glory. McDonagh weaves an uneasy chemistry between the placid Ken and the uncouth Ray, and their banter is intoxicatingly barbed and hilarious. It's a friendship-of-convenience that feels human and likable, partly because of McDonagh's witty dialogue and partly because of the two lead actors. Colin Farrell is on fantastic form as Ray, playing him like a petulant child on the surface, but possessing a cleverly-hidden depth that is revealed slowly and effectively as the film goes on. Giving the best performance of the film is Brendan Gleeson as Ken, and while Ken is the kind of character Gleeson could nail in his sleep, here he puts everything into it and creates an immediately sympathetic character despite his profession. As a third wheel who enters stage left later in the film, Ralph Fiennes is also excellent, giving a hilarious performance as a crime boss with a common muck accent and principles to betray it. McDonagh's direction captures the archaic beauty of Bruges without losing sight of the film's dark undertones, and scenes like Ken's final scene in the bell-tower and the final sequence on the film set present a director with visual style to burn. In Bruges is a gem that will probably never get old, and is layered and brilliant.



- Pigeon Army.

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Post #: 24
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 10/5/2011 1:47:33 PM   
rawlinson

 

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77.
The Philadelphia Story

(1940; George Cukor)




A Philadelphia socialite, Tracy Lord (Hepburn) is set to remarry after a stormy time with first husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Grant). Her second marriage is to the responsible but dull and socially awkward George Kittredge, a coal miner who rose to the position of general manager. Tracy has convinced herself that she wants someone secure and reliable after the time spent with the idle, heavy-drinking Dexter. Dexter has been living away since the divorce, working for a lifestyle magazine. He's determined the marriage won't go ahead and plots to sneak two reporters into the mansion to get an article on the wedding. The magazine is blackmailing the Lords, if Tracy allows the journalists to write their article, they won't publish details of her father's extra-marital affairs. The reporters Mike (Stewart) and Liz (Hussey) hate the assignment. Mike hates it because he hates the idle rich, Liz because she just wants to marry Mike. Flirtation, game-playing and acidic put-downs lead all sides to mellow and true love to find a way.

Some people think that The Philadelphia Story was somehow about putting Hepburn in her place. It's often seen as merely a way to show the audiences at the time that who saw her labelled as box-office poison that she was just like them, that she wasn't above the place they thought a woman should be. If it is, it's a smart move by Hepburn, it resurrected her career and cemented her place as one of the greatest stars in the history of the artform. But I don't believe that it is, if it was they'd have her married off to the obviously beneath her Kittredge at the end of the film. And I don't think he's beneath her because he's a social climber, Mike isn't rich either but he'd be a perfect challenge for Tracy, he's beneath her because he is in no way her equal. Both Stewart and Grant play men who don't give a damn about convention, and it's helping Hepburn free herself from social obligations that drive the narrative. There may be acidic put-downs about the poor but there are about the rich as well. As for the gender politics, and the idea that Dexter may once have been abusive, it doesn't take into account the fact that two years have passed since the divorce, time for him to realise what an idiot he was and exactly what his behaviour cost him. Time enough for him to change. It also doesn't take into account the fact that she was a perfect match for him in every way and that sometimes people who yell the loudest can love each other the most. Which is greatly different to Dexter being some vile wife-beater.

The Philadelphia Story puts together a dream cast and sees its four leads (surely four of the most talented performers of their time) giving beautifully understated performances. The 'C.K. Dexter Haaavennn!!' scene in other hands could have been hideously overplayed, but Stewart and Grant (obviously having a delightful time playing off each other) pitch it perfectly and make it into just one of many comic highlights. It's an absolutely joyous film, enchanting, funny, and ultimately quite romantic.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 25
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 10/5/2011 1:50:57 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
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76.
Magical Maestro
(1952; Tex Avery)



Poochini is a canine opera singer. A magician, Mysto, comes to see him to ask permission to perform as his opening act but Poochini kicks him out. In revenge, the magician replaces Poochini's conductor and uses his magic wand in place of a conductor's baton. Poochini takes the stage to sing a tune from The Barber of Seville but finds his performance interrupted by Mysto's trickery. He summons rabbits and flowers that appear out of nowhere on Poochini's arms. He puts Poochini in a tutu. He changes him into a country singer, a small child, a Hawaiian singer and a rather stereotypical 'Chinaman'. Like most Avery shorts, it's endlessly inventive and uses his familiar technique of building on a gag through repetition to increase the hilarity. This also features the much commented on gag where a hair gets caught in the gate and Poochini stops his song to remove it. Despite one or two dubious jokes based on ethnicity, Magical Maestro is one of Avery's funniest and most imaginative short films.



- Rawlinson


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 10/5/2011 1:51:20 PM >

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Post #: 26
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 11/5/2011 12:33:56 PM   
rawlinson

 

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Joined: 13/6/2008
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75.
Richard Pryor: Live in Concert
(1979; Jeff Margolis)




This live concert captures one of the most important, influential and hilarious comedians of all time at the height of his powers. People only familiar with Pryor from his films might think him a somewhat safe family comedian, which is why the raw power of his stand-up can often seem so shocking. I've always thought the mark of a great stand-up isn't giving the audience something familiar (Peter Kay, Michael McIntyre and the like, kindly go fuck yourselves), it's giving them something unique, something personal, something where you sit there in awe of a mind that can come up with these observations rather than nodding and thinking "Yes! I've always thought that too!" Pryor had a tragic life and he worked his life into his art, but he always able to turn that tragedy into humour and create incredibly funny routines out of very dark material and never seem like he was doing it just to shock. Pryor as a stand-up was profound, confessional, and, most important of all, funny.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 27
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 11/5/2011 12:55:54 PM   
rawlinson

 

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74.
Our Hospitality
(1923; John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton)




Our Hospitality is one of film’s earliest satires. Based on the true story of the Hatfield-McKay feud (They are renamed here, in one of cinema’s thinnest veils as Canfield and McKay). Of course the feud took place in the 1830’s, which gave Keaton a great chance to play with his true love. Trains. For the film, a working model of Stephenson’s famous Rocket was built at great cost, for both realism, and brilliant opportunities for slapstick. Buster was at his best making jokes out of technology, and some of the jokes created here are among his very best. Its also an incredibly personal film for Keaton, who not only invited his father – who he had spent years performing alongside as part of the famous Keaton Vaudville routines (Where the child Buster was tossed abusively around the stage, and learned that a stone face is funnier than tears or a smile) – but also had he son appear on stage, making it the only film to feature three different generations of Keatons on screen. Buster’s wife also appears on screen.  The film starts with that other great Buster Keaton trademark, Storms.  The films Romeo-and-Juliet-esque satire of the family feud however is what sets Our Hospitality apart. The film begins with another McKay dying as a result of the feud (death, even in his broadest comedies was something Keaton was fine with tackling, and with out Chaplin’s over sentimentality) and a young McKay mother deciding to send her son away so he won’t suffer the same. He is raised without knowledge of the feud, and then when his father passes away, the boy, now a grown man, has to come back. Of course he meets, and falls for, a girl from the rival family on the train ride to the funeral. Chaos, as ever, ensues.The film follows Keaton as he tries to figure out why the hell he’s being shot at, and eventually climaxes in an incredible waterfall stunt. Our Hospitality was one of Buster’s first features, and it still stands as one of the best ways to spend an hour.



- Rhubarb

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Post #: 28
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 11/5/2011 1:28:52 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
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73.
The Awful Truth
(1937; Leo McCarey)




Jerry and Lucy Warriner are a wealthy socialite couple who find their marriage destroyed because of a lack of trust. Jerry faked a trip to Florida in order to play poker and Lucy spent the night with her music teacher when his car broke down. Their mutual distrust leads them to file for divorce, with the only point of contention being who gets custody of their dog, Mr. Smith. After custody is awarded to Lucy, Jerry gets visitation rights, something that keeps Jerry in her life and able to interfere with her plans. Lucy's Aunt Patsy tries to arrange a relationship with their neighbour, Dan, a wealthy Southern oil-man who lives with his domineering mother. When Lucy and Dan become an item, Jerry does his hardest to break up the relationship.

The Awful Truth is one of the quintessential screwball comedies, helped by the fact that it stars the King of Screwball, Cary Grant. Irene Dunne is a perfect foil for Grant, one of the most talented comedic actresses of her time, she matches Grant every step of the way and you actually believe this is a couple deeply in love. The film obviously adores its sophisticated leads, to the extent that the mocking of Bellamy's rural oil man almost feels a little mean. If the leads were anyone other than Grant and Dunne then you might actually dislike the favouritism the film shows to them. Luckily, they are Grant and Dunne, so we're with them every step of the way.

There's little actual plot to the film so everything depends on the chemistry of the cast, as much as we may love the leads, respect also needs to be paid to Bellamy. His good-natured hick may be the fall-guy of the film, and he's certainly not shown much sympathy in the script, so it's a tribute to Bellamy's skill that we actually end up liking Dan, even if he is standing in the way of true love. Cunningham is also a blast as Aunt Patsy, but the acting honours surely belong with Asta. He's possibly the most talented star in the golden age of Hollywood and he steals every one of his scenes.

I've seen some harsh criticism thrown at The Awful Truth in the past, mainly because the film ends with Jerry and Lucy reuniting, something some critics claim is a condemnation of divorce. Nonsense. It's a claim that Jerry and Lucy are meant for each other and nothing more. The Awful Truth is a superb, smart and sophisticated screwball and it's one of the best comedies ever made.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 29
RE: The Empire Top 100 Comedy Films: Results - 11/5/2011 3:09:01 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
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72.
The Fortune Cookie
(1966; Billy Wilder)



Harry Hinkle (Jack Lemmon) is a television cameraman injured by a stray tackle during a football game. Despite only receiving minor injuries, his brother-in-law, the notorious ambulance-chasing lawyer, Whiplash Willie (Walter Matthau), sees the chance to scam the insurance companies for a big claim.  Meanwhile the player who caused the injury, "Boom Boom" Jackson (Ron Rich) decides he needs to make it up to him in any way he can, pricking Harry's already sensitive conscience. As always, Lemmon and Matthau are a superb double-act, with Matthau stealing the film (and winning a deserved Oscar) for his portrayal of an unscrupulous shyster lawyer. A bitter and cynical comedy, it's Wilder at his finest.



- Rawlinson

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