Tom Whalen          



LK Sommersemester 2007_ Universität Stuttgart
Zeit und Ort: Freitags 14.00 - 17.00____ M17.22


Buster Keaton, SHERLOCK, JR., Metro-Goldwyn, 1924, **I.V. 


The course will explore in a chronological context American comedies by Keaton, Hawks, 
Sturges, Cukor, Huston, Tashlin, and Axelrod.  Careful attention will be give to the cinematic 
elements in the films and their relationship to the comedy genre.

April 20
The Blacksmith- Buster Keaton (1922) 21'
Sherlock Junior (1924) 44'

April 27
Steamboat Bill, Jr.- Buster Keaton (1928) 69'

May 11
Bringing Up Baby - Howard Hawks (1938) 102'

May 18
His Girl Friday - Howard Hawks (1940) 92'
___________ Film journal due

May 25
The Philadelphia Story - George Cukor (1940) 112'

June 8
The Lady Eve - Preston Sturges (1941) 89'

June 15
Sullivan's Travels - Preston Sturges (1941) 86'

June 22
Beat the Devil - John Huston (1954) 89' 
___________ Film journal due

July 6
The Girl Can't Help It - Frank Tashlin (1956) 93'

July 13
Lord Love a Duck- George Axelrod (1965) 105'
             Students pick up Scheine

Course requirements: regular attendance (no more than two absences allowed).

Grades will be based on short viewing quizzes, class participation, and a film journal, which should consist of a list of all the films you've seen throughout the semester, both in and outside the course, with some commentary.  The journals will be picked up twice (May 18; June 22) and returned to you at the following class.


I. General

Bordwell, David, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson. The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960. New York: Columbia U. Press, 1985.
Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. New York: McGraw Hill, 2005.
Bordwell, David. The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies.  Berkeley: U. of California Press, 2006.
Monaco, James. How To Read a Film. New York: Oxford U. Press, 1981

II. Comedy

Cavell, Stanley. Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press, 1981.
Harvey, James. Romantic Comedy in Hollywood, from Lubitsch to Sturges. New York: Da Capo Press, 1998.
Horton, Andrew S., ed. Comedy/Cinema/Theory. Berkeley: U. California Press, 1991.
Karnick, Kristine Brunovsak and Henry Jenkins, eds. Classical Hollywood Comedy. New York: Routledge, 1995.
Mast, Gerald.  The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1973.
Sikov, Ed. Laughing Hysterically: American Screen Comedy of the 1950s. New York: Columbia U. Press, 1994..

III. Directors

Bernardoni, James. George Cukor: A Critical Study and Filmography. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1985.
Levy, Emmanuel. George Cukor, Master of Elegance. New York: Morrow, 1994.
Phillips, Gene D. George Cukor.  Boston: Twayne, 1982.

Hillier, Jim and Peter Wollen, eds. Howard Hawks, American Artist. London: BFI, 1996.
Mast, Gerald, ed. Bringing Up Baby: Howard Hawks, Director.  New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers U. Press, 1988.
McBride, Joseph, ed. Focus on Howard Hawks. Englewood Cliffs, MJ: Prentice-Hall, 1972.
McBride, Joseph. Hawks on Hawks. Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1982.

Moews, Daniel.  Keaton: The Silent Features Close Up. Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1977.
Robinson, David. Buster Keaton. Bloomington, IN: Indiana U. Press, 1969.
Whalen, Tom. "The Balloon of Equilibrium: Symmetry, Structures, and Narrative Authority in Buster Keaton's The Blacksmith." Literature/Film Quarterly Vol. 25, No. 1 (1997), 55-61.

Eyman, Scott. Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2000.
Paul, William. Ernst Lubitsch's American Comedy. New York: Columbia U. Press, 1987.
Poague, Leland A. The Cinema of Ernst Lubitsch.  New York: A.S. Barnes, 1978.

Jacobs, Diane. Christmas in July: The Life and Art of Preston Sturges. Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1992.
Pym, John.  The Palm Beach Story. London: BFI, 1998.

Garcia, Roger. Frank Tashlin. London: BFI, 1994.

IV. Select Filmography of American Comedies


Buster Keaton - The Three Ages  (1923),  Our Hospitality  (1923),   Sherlock Jr.  (1924),  The Navigator  (1924),  Seven Chances  (1925),  Go West  (1925),  Battling Butler  (1926),  The General (1926),  College  (1927),  Steamboat Bill, Jr.  (1927),  The Cameraman  (1928) 
Newmeyer and Taylor (actor: Harold Lloyd)  -  Safety Last (1923),  Girl Shy (1924),  The Freshman  (1925)  
Charlie Chaplin  -  The Gold Rush  (1925),  The Circus  (1928), City Lights  (1931),  Modern Times  (1936),  The Great Dictator  (1940),  Monsieur Verdoux  (1947)   


The Marx Brothers (various directors)  -  The Coconuts  (1929), Animal Crackers  (1930),  Monkey Business  (1931), Horsefeathers  (1932),  Duck Soup  (1933),  A Night at the Opera  (1935)  
Mae West (various directors)  -  She Done Him Wrong  (1933),  I'm  No Angel  (1933),  Belle of the Nineties  (1934),  Goin' to  Town  (1935)  
W.C. Fields (various directors)  -  Six of a Kind  (1934),  The Bank Dick  (1940) 


Gregory La Cava  -  The Half -Naked Truth  (1932),  She Married Her Boss  (1935),  My Man Godfrey  (1936),  Stage Door  (1937), Unfinished Business  (1941)  
Leo McCarey  -  Duck Soup  (1933),  Six of a Kind  (1934),  The Awful Truth  (1937)  
Ernst Lubitsch  -  Trouble in Paradise  (1932),  Design for Living  (1933),  The Merry Widow  (1934),  Angel  (1937),  Bluebeard's  Eighth Wife  (1938),  Ninotchka  (1939),  The Shop Around the Corner (1940),  That Uncertain Feeling  (1941),  To Be or Not to Be  (1942),  Heaven Can Wait  (1943),  Cluny Brown (1946)  
Frank Capra  -  It Happened One Night  (1934),  Mr. Deeds Goes to Town  (1936),  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington  (1939),  It's a Wonderful Life  (1946)  
George Cukor  -  Holiday  (1938),  The Philadelphia Story  (1940),  Adam's Rib  (1949)  Born Yesterday (1951), It Should Happen to You (1954), Heller in Pink Tights (1960)
Preston Sturges  -  The Great McGinty  (1940),  Christmas in July  (1940),  The Lady Eve  (1941),  Sullivan's Travels  (1942), The Palm Beach Story  (1942),  The Miracle at Morgan's Creek  (1944),  Hail the Conquering Hero  (1944),  Mad Wednesday  (1947),  Unfaithfully Yours  (1948),  The  Beautiful Blond from Bashful Bend  (1949) 
Howard Hawks  -  Bringing Up Baby  (1938),  His Girl Friday (1940),  Ball of Fire  (1941),  I Was a Male War Bride  (1949),  Monkey Business  (1952),  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes  (1953),  Man's Favorite Sport  (1964) 
George Stevens  -  Woman of the Year  (1942),  The Talk of the Town  (1942),  The More the Merrier  (1943) 
Alfred Hitchcock  -  Mr. and Mrs. Smith  (1941),  The Trouble With Harry  (1955),  Family Plot  (1976)

4. THE 1950s AND EARLY 1960s

Frank Tashlin  -  Son of Paleface  (1952),  Artists and Models  (1955),  Hollywood or Bust  (1955),  The Girl Can't Help It  (1955),  Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957),  Cinderfella  (1960),  Bachelor Flat  (1962),  It's Only Money  (1962),  Who's Minding the Store?  (1963),  The Disorderly Orderly  (1964),  The Alphabet Murders  (1966)  
Billy Wilder  -  The Seven Year Itch  (1955),  Some Like it Hot  (1959),  One, Two, Three  (1961),  Kiss Me, Stupid  (1964),  The Fortune Cookie  (1966)   
John Huston  -  Beat the Devil  (1954)  
Norman Panama and Melvin Frank  -  The Court Jester (1956)
Jerry Lewis  -  The Bellboy  (1960),  The Ladies Man  (1961),  The Errand Boy  (1961),  The Patsy  (1964),  Which Way to the Front?  (1970),  Hardly Working  (1981),  Cracking Up  (1983)  
Roger Corman  -  The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
Ralph Nelson  -  Soldier in the Rain  (1963) 
Stanley Donen  -  Charade (1963),  Bedazzled (1967)
Stanley Kubrick  -  Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb  (1964)  
Blake Edwards  -  The Pink Panther  (1964),  A Shot in the Dark  (1964),  The Party (1968),  The Return of the Pink Panther  (1975),  10  (1975),  The Man Who Loved Women  (1983),  Blind Date (1987),  Switch  (1991)  
Richard Lester  -  A Hard Day's Night (1964),  The Knack (1965),  A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966),  How I Won the War (1967),  The Bed Sitting Room (1969),  The Three Musketeers (1973),  The Four Musketeers (1974),  Finders Keepers (1984)
Elliot Silverstein  -  Cat Ballou (1965)
George Axelrod  -  Lord Love a Duck  (1966) 


A. Directors of the 1970s