Carole, Maggie and Other Screwballs

I can still remember the first time I ever set eyes on Carole Lombard. Inevitably it was in a screwball comedy, Twentieth Century. I’d just watched Ball of FireBringing Up Baby and His Girl Friday for the first time, and was delving deeper into the world of screwball comedies and the Hawksian woman.Lombard was a revelation, a great beauty with no qualms about playing the clown. I liked her very much and tried to track as many of her films as possible. Sadly, she never made it to her 34th birthday, dying in a plane crash in 1942.In the early 1990s, it was rumored that Michelle Pfeiffer and Tom Cruise were going to star in a biopic of the original queen of screwball comedy. The project never came to be. Even so, I still think Pfeiffer was one of the few actresses who could have captured some of Carole’s incomparable radiance and charisma.At her best, Meg Ryan was able to forge a link between the classics and contemporary comedies. Anyone who could marry cynicism, dark comedy, slapstick and vulnerability in the same film obviously had something special.Addicted to Love was her day of epiphany, a time when it seemed Meg would fulfill her destiny as the heir apparent to Carole Lombard. It was not to be. But here I still like to dream and remember my leading ladies as I first found them.Carole Lombard reborn as Maggie? Michelle masquerading as haughty Hepburn? Better Ryan as her 90’s screwball self. Charm, chutzpah and insouciance all wrapped up in the visage of a gorgeous, platinum blonde.



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11 responses to “Carole, Maggie and Other Screwballs

  1. I love Carole Lombard! A brilliant woman whose films I can watch forever – in fact I sat and watched Nothing Sacred the other day for the umpteenth time when it came up on Talking Pictures. Definitely in a league of her own!

  2. Great post 🙂 Once again, do not delete this blog entry cause I love it very much 🙂 I think it is very hard to decide who would make a better Carole Lombard: Michelle Pfeiffer or Meg Ryan? Personally, I think one can pick either one to play her and you could do no wrong, but that is just me 🙂 One of the many things I love about these posts is that you come off as one of those college film professors who could write many books or blog entries about a cinematic topic which in this case would be the importance of screwball and sophisticated comedy and how some of their aspects can be compared to some contemporary romantic comedies. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. You’ve left me a little bit speechless!

      • I am glad you loved my words of praise for you 🙂 Speaking of Pfeiffer and Ryan, who would you cast in director Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire for the Diane Lane character of Ellen Aim? Pfeiffer or Ryan? 🙂 Anyway, I found a link where you can buy The Big Combo on Region 2, since you live in the UK. Here is the link below and keep up the great work as always 🙂

        • Thanks for the link, I’ll be sure to snare myself a copy of the Big Combo. Now Pfeiffer or Ryan for Streets of Fire? The character of Ellen Aim was written as a 28-year-old woman. Walter Hill wanted Daryl Hannah to play the role but they were unable to do a deal in time. Given Michelle Pfeiffer was more age appropriate and had sung in Grease 2, I’d probably give her the gig over Meg. A young Ryan would have been a scene stealer as Baby Doll and what about Daryl Hannah as McCoy? Just imagine those three young blondes on the cusp of stardom, together in this rock and roll fable.

          • I can totally see Meg Ryan stealing the show as Baby Doll and Daryl Hannah shining as McCoy 🙂 The thought of these three blonde musketeers in that rock and roll fable would have been a big treat in what is already (in my opinion) a really great film. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

  3. You can’t beat a bit of screwball comedy. I wish they’d revive the genre.

  4. Just as there’s a thousand ways to define snow, you’ve thousands of ways to describe your lovely ladies! I’d like to think they’ve found your blog and read it in an off day, and feel loved again.

  5. Think you would get a lot of likes from Meg – know shes on Twitter. Not so sure re Michelle but word travels…

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