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American Comedy And The Great Depression

892 words - 4 pages

The Great Depression had an impact on many aspects of American culture. American Film, especially in the Comedy genre was a good example of this.By the 1930s, the country had undergone huge social changes. Women had recently gotten the vote and were beginning to gain a previously unheard of social independence. The Stock Market crash of 1929 began an economic depression that soon affected most of America. By the peak of the Depression in 1933 almost twenty-five percent of the country was unemployed, while even more people just made ends meet. Motion pictures and radio however just grew in popularity and gave Americans a common culture and a greater sense of connectedness.American film soon ...view middle of the document...

Hollywood was one of the few places with full employment and rising salaries. Soon, some of America's best writers were flocking to the West Coast. The writers brought a new sophistication and much creativity to the problems prompted by the necessity of adhering to the Production Code.All of these factors lead to the development of the screwball comedy. It featured sharp dialogue, women who were smart and strong, fanciful plot twists and turns, and a storyline that often included the interplay between the wealthy and poorer classes. The films generally sided with their lower class protagonists and often showed the wealthy classes to be inept and in need of the good common sense of the masses."It Happened One Night" (1934) is perhaps the best known of the screwball comedies. Claudette Colbert is Ellie Andrews, a wealthy rebellious socialite who married a society wastrel. Her father has the marriage annulled, and she runs away to go to her husband. Incognito, she meets a savvy street-smart reporter Peter Warne played by Clark Gable. She needs his help and they end up traveling together as Warne hopes to get the big scoop. Gable's character is the strong, competent, wise cracking everyman not dazzled by Colbert's wealth. He has a strong moral center and would not take advantage of the intimate situations they experience. This character appealed to the largely middle and working class audience. Colbert's character is strong and smart and after a few "fish out of water" jokes, soon fits...

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