Oh, those Screwball Queens

With less than two months to go until Addicted to Love‘s 20th birthday it’s been all about screwball in my house recently. I’m not the first, the last, the wittiest, or the most obsessed person to write about the joys of screwball comedy, but when I decided to propose a blogathon to mark the day, it didn’t take much deep thinking to come up with a title: The Addicted to Screwball Blogathon.In 1934, during the dark days of the Great Depression, Howard Hawks’ film Twentieth Century literally coined the term screwball with the performance of his second cousin, Carole Lombard. Hawks gave Lombard the chance to cut loose, giving birth to the famed hoosier tornado persona, that would make Carole one of the most beloved actresses of all time.Directors, writers and actresses have tried to emulate Lombard’s characters in recent years  but very few have actually succeeded. Usually, because they try too hard. Meg Ryan as Maggie in Addicted to Love is one who got it right. Fellow Queen of the Screen Michelle Pfeiffer was another, as her waspish Melanie Parker teased, beguiled and left audiences exhausted, all in One Fine Day.In a charming little souffle of a comedy, brimming with witty writing and beautiful stars, Michelle always looks like the smartest person in the room. As the soignée heir to Katharine Hepburn, she proved that nothing makes for great screwball like a smart, independent woman in the starring role.Juxtaposing the femininity of Melanie with Addicted to Love‘s outrageous Maggie we see that casting the right leads is crucial. Ryan’s baby-doll charm, razor-sharp wit and the way she fearlessly uses her body for physical humour calls to mind another era, one where comically gifted actresses reigned supreme.The appeal of Meg’s girl-next-door-gone-bad and Michelle’s smoky-voiced siren, came as much from their wit, as their looks. They got more laughs than the men and had the larger pay cheques and top billing to show for it. Kudos should also be given to Addicted to Love‘s costume designer Renee Ehrlich Kalfus for Maggie’s set of marvellous outfits; Meg Ryan never looked more alluring. According to Jean-Luc Godard “The history of cinema is the history of boys photographing girls.” If the charms of petulant, pouting Maggie can’t convince you he was right, you’re probably inconvincible on any day, fine or otherwise.

The Addicted to Screwball Blogathon. Any interest?




Filed under Blogathon, Feature

10 responses to “Oh, those Screwball Queens

  1. Of course I’m interested 😉
    Want me to sign up with the movie I’ll write about or just surprise you?

  2. Yep definitely – let me think of a worthy subject though 😃👍

  3. Great post 🙂 I love that Jean-Luc Godard quote you included as well 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

  4. Nice Godard quote 🙂 –Paul

  5. Screwball comedies. Can anybody submit and is there any criteria? Perhaps comparing one of these characters to a classic performance or just espousing the virtues of these two lovely actresses or looking for other modern comparisons of screwball performances?

    • You’ve nailed the brief. Anybody can submit and there are no restrictions. If you consider it screwball it’s good enough for me.
      I can’t deny I would appreciate your involvement, but only if you feel inspired, by a shared love for Meg, Michelle, Addicted to Love and the spirit of screwball comedy!

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