film120 Screwball Comedy and French Poetic Realism

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Updated on: October 4, 2021

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In Marilyn Fabe's Ch. 4, she discusses various features of classical Hollywood narrative film—the “genius of the system.” This is one of the best, most clear explanations of the formal elements of classical Hollywood magic I've ever come across--so please pay close attention to it. 1. Discuss a few specific scenes from His Girl Friday, that illustrate or "capture" both the classical Hollywood elements, and the screwball comedy genre features, described by Fabe. 2. For French Poetic Realism, comment on either Rules of the Game or The Grand Illusion, by Jean Renoir--whichever film you watched. (For Rules of the Game, you may read Sesonske (Links to an external site.) and Ebert (Links to an external site.)) Describe an idea from the assigned readings you felt was especially important or helpful, and explain why. Also give some commentary on how the French Poetic Realist film does NOT conform to Classical Hollywood, as defined by Fabe. How does the Renoir film move away from, subvert, challenge, or transcend the classical Hollywood approach? Second part write a simple reply to others post POST:Watching His Girl Friday was very hectic and chaotic especially in the scenes where everyone in the shot is simply talking over to each other. But the magic behind this is like what the Fabe chapter mentioned is that it captures the busy workplace of a newspaper office which is something that's not possible if the film was a silent film. Since classical Hollywood elements work and sell money, the director used the elements of two plotlines (the inside and the outside of a central character), give those two plotlines problems to be solved within a given time frame, and wrap everything up by the end of the movie. This film has all of that because we got the heterosexual relationship plot, the William execution plot that is happening outside the character, and all of these things need to be solved all in one day in its narrative. The director and the writer for the film version were able to mold and mix all of these elements together which made up for a very engaging film which actually kept me at the edge of my seat because it feels like a ticking time bomb and seeing how all of it will end through the several decisions Hildy has to make throughout the story. I think it kinda makes sense in the Fabe chapter that filmmakers who were free to direct any film of their liking (outside of the classical Hollywood film structure) produced terrible movies because they were experimental and there's a higher chance that these kinds of movies will not work with the Hollywood audience. This is why Marvel Studios keep on making hero movies of the same formula (with different tastes like Ant-Man being a heist film and Spider-Man: Homecoming about a boy in high school) because they sell. I find it interesting though because if I remember correctly, the director of Birth of a Nation was given full freedom to direct his film and I think his film was one of the rare Hollywood films that actually worked out given that the studio gave him a ton of freedom with it. EXAMPLE REPLY: You put it perfectly by comparing the film to a ticking timebomb. The invisible clock is counting down as the actions, voices, and movements of others in the newsroom continue to increase emphasizing the chaotic environment in a newsroom. Sometimes their banter in the film was so quick I had trouble keeping up with what they were saying! The two differing plotlines are, as Fabe put it, deadlines that need to be met, which I think fits perfectly with this movie considering the majority of the scenes occur in the newsroom where deadlines have to be constantly met.

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"film120 Screwball Comedy and French Poetic Realism." ≡ Sweetstudy [Online]. Available: [Accessed: October 7, 2022]

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