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Best Of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Comedy

by Louise Adams
Monday Jul 15, 2013

"Best of Warner Bros.: 20 Film Collection Comedy" is an interesting premise, resulting in a strange conglomeration, broken up into two chunks: 1935-1980, and 1983-2009.

The early half of the comedy catalog features some rock-solid classics, like the Marx Bros. "A Night At The Opera" (1935, screenplay by George S. Kaufman), and 1937's "Stage Door," which follows aspiring actresses Ginger Rogers, Ann Miller, Eve Arden, Lucille Ball and Katherine Hepburn.

Hepburn fulfills her WB studio contract with some of her best work, including "Bringing Up Baby" (1938), alongside Cary Grant and a leopard; and with Grant again in George Cukor's "The Philadelphia Story" (1940). Jimmy Stewart won the Best Actor Oscar that year, and the picture is included in the AFI's Top 100 American Films of All Time list.

Cary Grant heads the wacko cast in the stage-to-screen "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944). Lucy and Desi do some 'splaining about their honeymoon in "The Long, Long Trailer" (1954), which was filmed during the "I Love Lucy" heyday.

Blake Edwards directed the New York to Paris travelogue "The Great Race" (1965), and Mel Brooks made his mark with "Blazing Saddles" in 1974, which made marvelous Madeline Kahn oh, so tired. Alan Arkin and Peter Falk are 1979's "The In-Laws."

A catalog that starts out with strong female vehicles degenerates into primarily slob guy rehashes. I guess "Bros." is in the title for a reason.

Bill Murray launched a million Cinderella stories in "Caddyshack" (1980), and fellow SNL alum Chevy Chase hit the road in 1983 with "National Lampoon's Vacation."

Tom Cruise was a pimp in tidy whities in 1983's "Risky Business," and Steven Spielberg directed cult favorite "The Goonies" in 1985.

Chase and Dan Ackroyd reinvent the road movie in "Spies Like Us" (1985), and Michael Keaton reanimates the dead in "Beetlejuice" (1988), featuring the ever-fabulous Catherine O'Hara and a skinny Alec Baldwin.

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are indeed "Grumpy Old Men" (1993), and Jim Carrey's overacts his way through "Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994)." Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro mock the mob in 1999's "Analyze This," as Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson riff through "Wedding Crashers: Uncorked Edition" (2005). Bradley Cooper and entourage continue the alcoholic binge motif in 2009's "The Hangover."

A catalog that starts out with strong female vehicles degenerates into primarily slob guy rehashes. I guess "Bros." is in the credits for a reason.

"Best of Warner Bros.: 20 Film Collection Comedy"
DVD Collection

Louise Adams is a writer, actor, educator, yogini and nom de guerre. @MzzzAnthrope


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