Essay On Screwball Comedy

1034 Words5 Pages
Research Question: How does His Girl Friday stay within the bounds of the Hays Code while challenging the culture of censorship in United States?

Milberg, Doris. The art of the screwball comedy: madcap entertainment from the 1930s to today.
McFarland, 2013.
Milberg’s book dives into the popular screwball comedy genre that arose in the 1930s. The first few chapters discuss the structure and major attributes of screwball comedies, highlighting the clever dialogue, battle of the sexes, and physical elements that harken back to slapstick comedy films. Popular tropes, such as ambitious newspaper reporters, and popular stars like Cary Grant from His Girl Friday are featured. Milberg takes an in depth look at how films within the genre derived
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Leff, Leonard J., and Jerold L. Simmons. The Dame in the kimono Hollywood, censorship, and the production code. Lexington (Ky.): University Press of Kentucky, 2001.
Leff and Simmons’ book explores the history of film censorship, from the 1920’s Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA), to the Hays Code, to the current MPAA rating system. The first half of the book gives a thorough background on the people who spearheaded the efforts to enact censorship in Hollywood, especially focusing on MPPDA President William Hays and Joseph Breen. Leff and Simmons detail the pre-code vulgarity and blatant sexuality in films and then recount the multitude of reactions of various stakeholders, including responses from the Catholic church, newspaper mogul Randolph Hearst, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and concerned public officials among many others. Ultimately, the book describes how Hays is able to ward off federal intervention and Breen is able to enforce censorship of the Hays Production Code in the film industry.
The book utilizes a wide variety of primary sources of films from the 1920s onward. Leff and Simmons also use many newspaper and magazine articles that analyze censorship in films. They utilize these sources to illustrate examples of how films went from having
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