Catalogue


Another fine mess : a history of American film comedy /
Saul Austerlitz.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, 2010.
description
xv, 512 p.
ISBN
9781556529511
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, 2010.
isbn
9781556529511
general note
"An A cappella book."
catalogue key
7269039
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Saul Austerlitz's work has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Slate, and other publications. He is the author of Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-03-01:
Providing snapshots of a neglected cinematic genre, this entertaining, cleverly titled book revives selected film comedians and reminds one of the laughter they elicited. Beginning with the three great silent artists--Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd--Austerlitz (freelance writer) transports the reader to filmmaker Judd Apatow's frat-brothers brand of comedy. The book covers 30 key ticklers of America's funny bone--from actors like Mae West, Richard Pryor, and Will Ferrell to directors like Preston Sturges and mockumentary specialist Christopher Guest--and also provides cameos of about a hundred other comics, from Bugs Bunny to Adam Sandler. This gallery of fresh, informative portraits offers the basic facts and films of the artists, but stops short of being a critical history of film comedy (a la Gerald Mast's The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies, 1979). Nevertheless, this scrapbook of funny men and women is a refreshingly readable Who's Who of those who have made America laugh. Its affectionate biographical sketches will renew appreciation for old and new comics and serve as a reminder of the importance of historical perspectives. As Aristophanes noted, old jokes never die. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers. T. Lindvall Virginia Wesleyan College
Appeared in Library Journal on 2010-09-10:
In this collection of 30 long chapters, 100 shorter entries, and very few photos, Austerlitz (Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes) takes a more academic approach than his predecessors. His essays are clever and well researched, and he's not afraid to use big words as he describes the film industry's most misunderstood artists and performers. This is not a guide for the average reader looking for a good list of funny movies. Austerlitz has the credentials to tackle the subject with some seriousness, being a journalist and film reviewer. He offers intuitive analyses and expertly discusses the relevance of his subjects within American culture, giving their cinematic contributions proper historical perspective. Verdict Austerlitz doesn't have a great deal of new biographical information to offer when compared to such dependable standbys as Leonard Maltin's The Great Movie Comedians. If you have several of the earlier handbooks on the subject, you will want to add this handy, up-to-date guide of major film comedy teams and comedians only for its contemporary additions.-Richard A. Dickey, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Conventional wisdom holds that analyzing comedy is a thankless task--who's to say what's funny, and why kill the fun of it?--but Saul Austerlitz's wide-ranging survey of American film comedy is both illuminating and hugely enjoyable. With its sharp insights and vivid biographical sketches, it's first-rate film criticism and a terrific resource to boot." --Dennis Lim, editor, The Village Voice Film Guide
"Entertaining reading." --Booklist
"I was enrapt, argumentative, gobsmacked, amused and ready to rethink what I know about American film comedy. Crack this book open, and let the debate--and the flying pies--begin." --Glen David Gold, author, Carter Beats the Deviland Sunnyside
"Comprehensive yet reader-friendly account." --LAWeekly.com
"Conventional wisdom holds that analyzing comedy is a thankless task--who's to say what's funny, and why kill the fun of it?--but Saul Austerlitz's wide-ranging survey of American film comedy is both illuminating and hugely enjoyable. With its sharp insights and vivid biographical sketches, it's first-rate film criticism and a terrific resource to boot." --Dennis Lim, editor ofThe Village Voice Film Guide
"Entertaining and amusing . . . this book truly highlights the best of the genre." --COEDMagazine.com
"I was enrapt, argumentative, gobsmacked, amused and ready to rethink what I know about American film comedy. Crack this book open, and let the debate--and the flying pies--begin." --Glen David Gold, author,Carter Beats the DevilandSunnyside
"Sharp, scholarly." --AmericanProfile.com
"A sprawling but incisive biography of film comedy history." --North County Times
"Clever and well-researched." --Library Journal Xpress Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, September 2010
Boston Globe, September 2010
Library Journal, September 2010
PW Annex Reviews, November 2010
Choice, March 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Charlie Chaplin. Buster Keaton. The Marx Brothers. Billy Wilder. Woody Allen. The Coen brothers. Where would the American film be without them? Yet the cinematic genre these artists represent--comedy--has perennially received short shrift from critics, film buffs, and the Academy Awards. Saul Austerlitz's Another Fine Mess is an attempt to right that wrong. Running the gamut of film history from City Lights to Knocked Up, Another Fine Mess retells the story of American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother--the comedy. In 30 long chapters and 100 shorter entries, each devoted primarily to a single performer or director, Another Fine Mess retraces the steps of the American comedy film, filling in the gaps and following the connections that link Mae West to Doris Day, or W. C. Fields to Will Ferrell. The first book of its kind in more than a generation, Another Fine Mess is an eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour of the American comedy, encompassing the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between.
Main Description
Charlie Chaplin. Buster Keaton. The Marx Brothers. Billy Wilder. Woody Allen. The Coen brothers. Where would the American film be without them? Yet the cinematic genre these artists represent--comedy--has perennially received short shrift from critics, film buffs, and the Academy Awards. Saul Austerlitz's Another Fine Mess is an attempt to right that wrong. Running the gamut of film history from City Lights to Knocked Up, Another Fine Mess retells the story of American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother--the comedy. In 30 long chapters and 100 shorter entries, each devoted primarily to a single performer or director,Another Fine Mess retraces the steps of the American comedy film, filling in the gaps and following the connections that link Mae West to Doris Day, or W. C. Fields to Will Ferrell. The first book of its kind in more than a generation, Another Fine Mess is an eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour of the American comedy, encompassing the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between.
Main Description
From City LightstoKnocked Up, this history examines American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother, the comedy, and puts the comic titans of the present in the context of their predecessors. The 30 chapters and 100 essays follow the connections that link Mae West to Marilyn Monroe and W. C. Fields to Will Ferrell. Offering unvarnished insight into comedians and directors such as Buster Keaton, Christopher Guest, Eddie Murphy, and Ben Stiller, this eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour encompasses the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between. Laurel and Hardy, Marilyn Monroe, Peter Sellers, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and the Coen Brothers are among others profiled, while a list of the top-100 American film comedies is also included. Charlie Chaplin. Buster Keaton. The Marx Brothers. Billy Wilder. Woody Allen. The Coen brothers. Where would the American film be without them? Yet the cinematic genre these artists represent--comedy--has perennially received short shrift from critics, film buffs, and the Academy Awards. Saul Austerlitz'sAnother Fine Messis an attempt to right that wrong. Running the gamut of film history fromCity LightstoKnocked Up,Another Fine Messretells the story of American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother--the comedy. In 30 long chapters and 100 shorter entries, each devoted primarily to a single performer or director,Another Fine Mess retraces the steps of the American comedy film, filling in the gaps and following the connections that link Mae West to Doris Day, or W. C. Fields to Will Ferrell. The first book of its kind in more than a generation,Another Fine Messis an eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour of the American comedy, encompassing the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
The Most Famous Man on Earthp. 1
The Camera Manp. 15
The Striverp. 27
Straight Man and Little Boyp. 39
The Marx Brothers: Brothers of Anarchyp. 51
The Jugglerp. 63
ôIt's All Been Done Before, but Not the Way I Do Itöp. 75
The Touchp. 87
The Cockeyed Caravanp. 101
The Picture of Archie Leachp. 115
Spencer's Ribp. 127
ôNobody's Perfect!öp. 139
Funny Blondep. 151
Battle of the Sexlessp. 163
They're Crazy About Him in Francep. 175
The Man behind the Masksp. 189
Stardom, Revisedp. 203
Overlapping Dialoguep. 215
The 2000-Year-Old Parodistp. 229
Hope and Bergmanp. 241
Rebel Without a Pausep. 255
The Return of Sully Sullivanp. 269
The Jerk and the Geniusp. 281
Incredible Shrinking Comicp. 293
Just the Usual Comic Inspiration-Frustration, Loss, and Deathp. 307
The Coen Brothers: Oddball Americap. 319
The Baron of the Mockumentaryp. 333
Good Jewish Boysp. 345
ôA Pretty Nice Little Saturdayöp. 357
Peter Pans and Frat Brothersp. 369
Short Entriesp. 381
Abbottp. 381
Wes Andersonp. 382
Jennifer Anistonp. 383
Roscoe ôFattyö Arbucklep. 384
Jean Arthurp. 385
Fred Astairep. 386
Lauren Bacallp. 387
Anne Bancroftp. 388
Drew Barrymorep. 388
Noah Baumbachp. 389
Ralph Bellamyp. 390
John Beluship. 391
Humphrey Bogartp. 392
Bugs Bunnyp. 393
Frank Caprap. 394
Jim Carreyp. 395
Chevy Chasep. 396
Cheechp. 397
Maurice Chevalierp. 398
Claudette Colbertp. 399
Gary Cooperp. 399
Bill Cosbyp. 400
Billy Crystalp. 401
George Cukorp. 402
Cameron Diazp. 403
Marlene Dietrichp. 404
Stanley Donenp. 405
Margaret Dumontp. 406
Blake Edwardsp. 407
Nora Ephronp. 407
Bobbyp. 408
Tina Feyp. 409
Whoopi Goldbergp. 410
Elliott Gouldp. 411
Jean Harlowp. 412
Howard Hawksp. 412
Ben Hechtp. 413
Amy Heckerlingp. 414
Audrey Hepburnp. 416
Alfred Hitchcockp. 417
Judy Hollidayp. 418
Bob Hopep. 419
Edward Everett Hortonp. 420
John Hughesp. 420
Jim Jarmuschp. 422
Chuck Jonesp. 422
Garson Kaninp. 423
Charlie Kaufmanp. 424
Diane Keatonp. 425
Stanley Kubrickp. 426
Harry Langdonp. 427
Spike Leep. 428
Mitchell Leisenp. 429
Jack Lemmonp. 430
Richard Linklaterp. 431
Carole Lombardp. 432
Myrna Loyp. 433
Shirley MacLainep. 433
Jayne Mansfieldp. 434
Dean Martinp. 435
Elaine Mayp. 436
Leo McCareyp. 437
Joel McCreap. 438
Lome Michaelsp. 439
Mike Myersp. 440
Mike Nicholsp. 441
Jack Nicholsonp. 442
Alexander Paynep. 443
Tyler Perryp. 444
Pixarp. 445
Harold Ramisp. 446
Tony Randallp. 447
Samson Raphaelsonp. 447
Carl Reinerp. 448
Rob Reinerp. 449
Hal Roachp. 450
Julia Robertsp. 451
Will Rogersp. 452
Paul Ruddp. 452
David O. Russellp. 453
Rosalind Russellp. 454
Winona Ryderp. 455
Morrie Ryskindp. 456
Adam Sandlerp. 457
Mack Sennettp. 458
Neil Simonp. 459
Kevin Smithp. 459
Steven Soderberghp. 460
Barbara Stanwyckp. 461
James Stewartp. 462
Whit Stillmanp. 463
Meryl Streepp. 464
Barbra Streisandp. 465
Quentin Tarantinop. 466
Frank Tashlinp. 466
The Three Stoogesp. 467
Vince Vaughnp. 468
John Watersp. 469
Keenen Ivory Wayansp. 470
John Waynep. 471
Gene Wilderp. 472
Robin Williamsp. 472
Renée Zellwegerp. 474
Jerry Zuckerp. 474
Top 100 American Comediesp. 477
Bibliographyp. 481
Indexp. 485
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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