cover image The Runaway Bride: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the 1930s

The Runaway Bride: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the 1930s

Elizabeth Kendall. Knopf Publishing Group, $24.95 (285pp) ISBN 978-0-394-51187-0

Depression-era romantic film comedies starring Jean Arthur, Claudette Colbert, Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn, Carole Lombard, Myrna Loy, Ginger Rogers and Barbara Stanwyck are enthrallingly appraised here by social historian Kendall ( Where She Danced ). The formula for these movies--lightly making a virtue of personality traits usually thought of as feminine, a moral subtlety, an unashamed belief in the validity of emotions--was originated not at the big Hollywood studios, but by directors on the margins of the indsutry: Frank Capra, Gregory La Cava, Leo McCarey, George Stevens and Preston Sturges. Their genuine interest in women, and in romance imagined from a woman's point of view, resulted in It Happened One Night , Mr. Deeds Goes to Town , My Man Godfrey , Stage Door , The Lady Eve and other film classics perceptively described and analyzed in this enjoyable book. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)