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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.

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Celestino Deleyto

decade but also to the Tracy–Hepburn series (as much part of the 1940s as of the 1950s), the Billy Wilder farces, the ‘B’ family comedies directed by Douglas Sirk at Universal in the early 1950s and, less interestingly for these authors, the lush romantic comedies characterised by glamorous European locations and high production values ( 1989 : 179–266). Ed Sikov, from his auteurist perspective, adds to the list important films

in The secret life of romantic comedy
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Catherine Viviano, Irene Brin, and Italian art’s conquest of Hollywood
Raffaele Bedarida

dealer himself. Unlike the posters of Henri Matisse and other famous modernists that are also in the gallery but fail to attract Hammer’s curiosity, the Italian pieces hold his attention, but elude his middlebrow taste. More significant was the case of Billy Wilder. An important collector of modern European art, he also collected the Italian artists

in Republics and empires
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Brian McFarlane

the sheer improbability of their subsequent meetings. The Apartment and Billy Wilder One of the more surprising ‘echoes’ is Billy Wilder’s classic comedy, The Apartment (1960). On the face of it, this sharply sardonic piece would not seem to have much in common with Brief Encounter . Its scenario revolves around Baxter, a young business executive (played by Jack Lemmon) who cements his position by making his apartment available to his seniors for extra-marital assignations – even to the point of his being left

in The never-ending Brief Encounter
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Melanie Williams

the 1970s and early 1980s. ‘A rule of mine is this’, said William Goldman in 1983: ‘there are always three hot directors and one of them is always David Lean.’2 Many of his films had been regarded as cinematic touchstones by his contemporaries, directors such as George Cukor, Billy Wilder and William Wyler, and continued to be highly influential among the next generation of filmmakers, with Steven Spielberg in particular crediting Lean with inspiring him to become a director. But while Lean had the admiration of his peers, a brace of Oscars and other awards, and

in David Lean
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Epstein as pioneer of corporeal cinema
Christophe Wall-Romana

cinephiliac was really unprogrammed, unscripted, or outside codification is fundamentally unde­­­cidable. It is also inconsequential since cinephilia hinges not on indexicality but on the knowledge of indexicality’s potential, a know­ledge that paradoxically erases itself. The cinephile maintains a certain belief, an investment in the graspability of the asystematic, the contingent, for which the cinema is the privileged vehicle. (2003: 84) 3 See Phillips (2004). Billy Wilder’s Mauvaise Graine (1933) exemplifies the Berlin–Paris–Hollywood axis in the 1930s; see Wimmer

in Jean Epstein
Paris revisited
Sue Harris

-first century, with Hispanic film at the forefront of postmodern experimentation and genre hybridity, José Luis Garci’s Ninette (2005) seems an anachronistic production; a determinedly old-fashioned film in style, tone and content, more in the vein of Frank Capra, George Cukor or Billy Wilder than the hip Almodovarian avant-garde. A wistful, sentimental comedy of manners, featuring a range of gentle caricatures of stock Spanish

in Spanish cinema 1973–2010
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"The Pest House," "Hell House," and "The Murder House"
Julia M. Wright

had better have the right electronic toys), American Horror Story sets its sights on Hollywood itself as an industry. This is not an anxiety about the simulacra of the flickering images on our screen, but a long, hard look at what happens off-screen. There is a substantial tradition of this. At the center of Billy Wilder’s tale of early Hollywood, Sunset Blvd. ( 1950 ), is Norma Desmond

in Men with stakes
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My wife is an actress (and a star)
Felicity Chaplin

sleeps with lots of guys? Georges: Well, I don’t know. It’s her job … Yvan: Uh, I think you’re thinking of whores. Yvan goes on to assure Georges that his wife is just acting in these scenes, but Georges remains unconvinced. As the exchange escalates, Yvan becomes steadily less convinced of his own argument and the seeds of doubt are sown. Typical of many Parisienne films, including A Woman of Paris (dir. Charles Chaplin, 1923 ), Design for Living (dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 1933 ), Sabrina (dir. Billy Wilder, 1954 ), Une femme est une femme (dir

in Charlotte Gainsbourg
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Felicity Chaplin

vamps. It was in the late 1930s that ‘sultry French brunettes [were] incorporated into the sisterhood of the vamp’ (Crisp 263). It is useful to reinforce the relationship between la Parisienne, the femme fatale and French cinema because in film studies the femme fatale is most often considered within the context of American film noir, and thus in relation to American characters. For example, the archetypal femme fatale of cinema is invariably Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) in Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944), Brigid O’Shaughnessy (Mary Astor) in John

in La Parisienne in cinema