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Humour can be theorised as integral to the genre even if there are some films that do not provoke laughter. Romantic comedy has been described as a narrative of the heterosexual couple with a happy ending in which humour does not necessarily play an important part. The comic, protective, erotically-charged space is the space of romantic comedy. This book proposes a revised theory of romantic comedy and then tests its validity through the analysis of texts, but these films must not be expected to fully embody the theory. It proposes a change of approach in two different but closely linked directions. On the one hand, a comic perspective is a fundamental ingredient of what we understand by romantic comedy; on the other, the genre does not have a specific ideology but, more broadly, it deals with the themes of love and romance, intimacy and friendship, sexual choice and orientation. The book discusses two films directed by two of the most prestigious figures in the history of Hollywood comedy: Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder. Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be became part of the canon as one of the most brilliant comedies in the history of Hollywood in so far as its romantic comedy elements remained invisible. Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid was almost universally rejected because its satire was too base, too obscene, too vulgar. Discussing Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window and Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors, the book attempts to move beyond the borders of comedy.

Nigel Wood

But we know we are watching a comedy, so such scepticism is presumably diluted by the inexorability of the fortunate ending; Puck provides an apology for any offending ‘shadows’ – or unskilful actors – and the ‘visions’ they have offered that can now safely appear but a ‘weak and idle theme’ true only of dreams (5.1.417–21). Seasoned theatregoers

in The Renaissance of emotion
Brett Mills

To explore comedy performance is to acknowledge that there is something that defines a performance as ‘comic’; that is, that comedy performance is of a particular type which is distinct from other, more serious and/ or tragic texts. Furthermore, it is to acknowledge that comedy performance requires being read as such in order for its aims to be achieved; that is, comic acting must not only be funny

in Genre and performance
Celestino Deleyto

director with this genre and, consequently, to take the films’ genericity more or less for granted in order to concentrate on auteurist, psychoanalytic, feminist or philosophical issues which made the artist truly great or, at least, interesting from a cultural standpoint. More recently, however, considerations of a greater generic variety have gradually begun to emerge in writings on Hitchcock, and the presence of comedy and

in The secret life of romantic comedy
R. S. White

Gendered disguise If Shakespeare’s comedies in general provide cinematic romantic comedy with a composite generic blueprint, and if A Midsummer Night’s Dream offers a specific model for love’s confusions, another linking, generic element that emerges is romantic comedy based on disguised identity. This chapter raises the acute problems concerning the nature of

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love
David Fletcher

that appeared on the Restoration stage embraced both the cynicism and permissiveness that emerged from this time of moral crisis. 4 The life-cycle event of the marriage ceremony is central to the structure of many of these plays, particularly the comedies, so marriage is a theme that is rarely out of sight. Although the comedies have positive things to say about marriage, there is also a darker side and the institution is frequently degraded. Some modern critics have argued that, as the

in Religion and life cycles in early modern England
Rachel Willie

5 Ideas of panegyric in early Restoration comedy Then to Westminster-hall where I heard how the Parliament had this day dissolved themselfs and did pass very cheerfully through the Hall and the Speaker without his Mace. The whole Hall was joyful thereat, as well as themselfs, and now they begin to talk loud of the king. Tonight I am told that yesterday, about 5 a-clock in the afternoon, one came with a ladder to the great Exchange and wiped with a brush the Inscripcion that was upon King Charles, and that there was a great bonefire made in the Exchange and

in Staging the revolution
Stephen Orgel

Othello begins at the moment when comedies end, with a happy marriage. It begins, too, where The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night leave off, with the question of ethnic or social outsiders – Shylock, Malvolio – as the catalysts for the destructive elements within society. It might seem that here the terms are reversed, with the

in Spectacular Performances
Nigel Mather

romantic comedy in relation to British cinema, with particular regard to the emergence of this particular generic form as a high-profile feature of British film production during the 1990s. Following the international commercial success and critical interest generated by Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), a number of films exploring the complicated relationships and courtship patterns of young couples in contemporary British

in Tears of laughter
Celestino Deleyto

The history of romantic comedy in Hollywood has been seen as a series of popular cycles followed by periods of dearth or, at least, transitions in between peaks. While, as I have argued in this book, there is much more to the genre than has been included in previous accounts, there is no denying that romantic comedy, perhaps more than other genres, has had its ups and downs in the last century or so. The

in The secret life of romantic comedy