Laughing in the Dark: Movie Comedy from Groucho to Woody

Ted Sennett, Author St. Martin's Press $35 (341p) ISBN 978-0-312-06280-4
Sennett ( Hollywood's Golden Year, 1939) moves breezily from one film to another, summarizing plots and, for the most part, avoiding movie history not directly related to screen action. His style frequently grates, as when he writes about Howard Hawks's His Girl Friday : ``From first minute to last, the lines snap, crackle, and pop like so many Rice Krispies, only twice as delicious and ten times funnier.''p.78 Sennett often states the stupefyingly obvious: `` Dr. Strangelove is a film made by iconoclasts who have little regard for--or faith in--our military, political, or social institutions.''p.222 Appropriately, most of the photographs are movie stills; a handful are in color. Although Sennett makes some interesting points, overall his movie criticism is nostalgic rather than historical and analytic. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
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