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The social commentary of anarchy and romance

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  1. Introduction
  2. The Marx Brothers
  3. The Thin Man
  4. The humor in both of the films
  5. The general back and forth, flirtatious banter between Nick and Nora
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

The ?modern? comedy can trace is roots back through a number of places. From as far back as Ancient Greece comedy has been one of the most pleasurable forms of entertainment. From the plays of Shakespeare, to the vaudeville era, and all the way into Hollywood's silent era, comedy remains highly in demand. The two main paths of comedy's evolution, especially within cinema, have been the screwball comedy (sometimes referred to as the romantic comedy) and the anarchistic comedy. (Horton, pg. 41-43). Although there are many differences in these two types of comedies, especially when taking into account the advent of the Production Code, there are some similar issues which arise in screwball and anarchistic films. One of the similarities is the ?undermining? of what is considered normal behavior and social institutions of the time, as Geoff King states.

[...] The way that Nora talks to Nick, hits him every once in awhile, sleuths along with him, and even matches him in drinking in their first scene together critiques the social norm of the time. At this time, women were a bit lesser in society. However, Nora is certainly not lesser than Nick. She works against the social norm and asserts herself as not only a strong woman; she is Nick's equal. Beyond this, she is Nick's only equal, because none of the other men can match him. [...]


[...] Although this film serves as an example of a flimsy plot that is simply used as a setting for jokes, it is cannot be doubted that it makes social commentaries that are insightful as any screwball comedy. The mixing of high class and low class makes its commentary possibly, even more impressive than The Thin Man, which was nominated for its screenplay. Both screwball comedies and anarchistic comedies have the potential to prove Geoff King's statement that ?comedy disrupts the dominant expectations.? Works Cited Animal Crackers. Dir. Victor Heerman. Perfs. Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx. Paramount Studios Beach, Christopher. Class, Language, and American Film Comedy. Troubled Paradise?. [...]

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