Category Archives: Feature

Shades of Hepburn and Lombard

So who was the queen of screwball comedy, Carole Lombard or Katharine Hepburn? In my limited experience, it could be either. Nobody could question Lombard’s credentials in such films as My Man Godfrey, Nothing Sacred and Twentieth Century. After recently viewing Hepburn in Bringing up Baby and now The Philadelphia Story, I’m not making any definitive statement. Truthfully, I’m just happy that we have works by these talented ladies to enjoy.
There is nothing I enjoy more than a good screwball film. Slamming doors, verbal wars, false identities and a cast slowly losing their minds are things that always amuse me, but they’re difficult to find. The milieu that produced the classic Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Carole Lombard collaborations has long since disappeared; taking manners, decorum and elegance, with it.The classics did everything better, but for a brief period in the 1990s Hollywood made some fine approximations. It is a pleasure to watch Meg Ryan in Addicted to Love, putting her unique screwball spin on the three Rs; rejection, romance and retribution. If only Michelle Pfeiffer, her big screen sister in love and laughter, could have found a similar screenplay worthy of her brilliance.Michelle was the Katharine Hepburn to Ryan’s Carole Lombard, the kind of fast-talking dame Howard Hawks and Preston Sturges would have dreamed of. It’s apples and oranges, but Meg was far more successful at evoking the hair-brained antics of a genuine screwball heroine of the 1930s and ’40s. A case of Ryan showing off? Maybe. But when you’ve got the chops, why not flaunt them.

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