Comedy Film Festival 2012

“Arsenic and Old Lace”

Josephine Hull, Jean Adair and Cary Grant in "Arsenic and Old Lace" (Warner Bros., 1944)

Josephine Hull, Jean Adair and Cary Grant in “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Warner Bros., 1944)

“Arsenic and Old Lace” (Warner Bros., 1944). In this macabre comedy, two spinster sisters (played by Josephine Hull and Jean Adair) take their compassion for sad, lonely old men a bit too far. When their nice, newlywed nephew (played by Cary Grant) and his insane, murderous brother (played by Raymond Massey) find out what’s been going on, all sorts of crazy happens. Laughs are provided by Cary Grant and most of the supporting cast; scares are provided by the creepy Raymond Massey and the always great Peter Lorre. Written by Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein. Based on the stage play by Joseph Kellering. Directed by Frank Capra. “We never dreamed you’d peek.”

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Comedy Film Festival 2012

“The Lady Eve”

Theatrical poster for "The Lady Eve" (Paramount, 1941)

Theatrical poster for “The Lady Eve” (Paramount, 1941)

“The Lady Eve” (Paramount, 1941). A serial gold digger (played by Barbara Stanwyck) falls hard for one her victims, a sincere but naive heir to a family fortune (played by Henry Fonda). When the greedy scheme is revealed and the couple breaks up, Barbara Stanwyck’s character has a few other tricks up her sleeve to get her man. This romantic screwball comedy is great in every way. Based on a story by Monckton Hoffe. Written and directed by Preston Sturges. “Positively the same dame!”

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Comedy Film Festival 2012

“The Thin Man”

Myrna Loy and William Powell play Nick and Nora Charles in "The Thin Man" (MGM, 1934)

Myrna Loy and William Powell play Nick and Nora Charles in “The Thin Man” (MGM, 1934)

“The Thin Man” (MGM, 1934). After a friend disappears and becomes the primary suspect in a murder case, retired detective Nick Charles (played by William Powell), his socialite wife Nora Charles (played by Myrna Loy), and their dog Asta work together to solve the case. This comedic mystery shines with its great script, solid direction, and excellent acting by William Powell and Myrna Loy. Film critic Roger Ebert said it best: “William Powell is to dialogue as Fred Astaire is to dance. His delivery is so droll and insinuating, so knowing and innocent at the same time, that it hardly matters what he’s saying.” Powell and Loy went on to make five more “Thin Man” films. Great stuff. Based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett. Written by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich. Directed by W.S. Van Dyke. “Oh, Nicky, I love you because you know such lovely people.”

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Comedy Film Festival 2012

“Ghostbusters”

The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man attacks New York City in "Ghostbusters" (Columbia, 1984)

The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man attacks New York City in “Ghostbusters” (Columbia, 1984)

“Ghostbusters” (Columbia, 1984). Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis play three New York City-based “paranormal investigators” who start their own ghost capturing and disposal firm. Business is booming because, unbeknownst to the team, a long-dead demon is planning a comeback. This classic 80‘s horror/comedy film is a lot of fun, due in part to the hilarious and never-ending one-liners from Bill Murray. Also stars Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts and William Atherton. Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Directed by Ivan Reitman. “Back off, man. I’m a scientist.”

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Comedy Film Festival 2012

“9 to 5”

Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in "9 to 5" (20th Century Fox, 1980)

Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in “9 to 5” (20th Century Fox, 1980)

“9 to 5” (20th Century Fox, 1980). Three justifiably disgruntled office workers (played by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton) get an unexpected opportunity to take down their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss (played by Dabney Coleman) in this classic workplace comedy. While the tone is kept silly and light, the ladies’ plight is still relevant today for all of us in the workplace. Written by Patricia Resnick and Colin Higgins. Directed by Colin Higgins. “Oh-hoh, crazy am I? They never found Jimmy Hoffa!”

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