Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy (Cappella Books (Paperback)) Paperback – September 1, 2010
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
From Publishers Weekly
American film comedy is barely a century old and already commentary on it can fill bookshelves, with countless pages devoted to the evolution of physical comedy, the influence of notable comedians like Charlie Chaplin, and the effects of technology on the form. Austerlitz touches on all of these things, but his objective is to provide a chronological set of biographies of the most important figures, both major (the top 30) and minor (over 100 more), and comment on their achievements and influence. The result is a comprehensive textbook that traces a legitimate line of succession from Chaplin to Apatow. Clearly Austerlitz has great affection for and knowledge of his subject; he can comment with equal skill on Renee Zellweger and W.C. Fields. Still, his take on the century is not without bias. Never less than candid ("Mel Brooks is overrated"), his tastes are also present in what he leaves out (Hal Ashby, Hal Hartley, and Cameron Crowe are all missing). Though readers will surely disagree with some of his choices, the breadth of material Austerlitz has compiled here is a feat. Photos. (Sept.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Austerlitz asserts that comedy has been underappreciated as a cinematic genre by critics and historians, and that this has resulted in underrepresentation in Academy Awards presentations and nominations. To redress this inequity, Austerlitz presents more than 100 biographical sketches of top comedy talents from Charlie Chaplin to Judd Apatow, augmented by shorter tidbits regarding lesser players. So the Jim Carrey saga coexists with the legend of Harold Lloyd, and the debonair comic stylings of Cary Grant contrast nicely with those of Will Ferrell. As the title would indicate, Laurel and Hardy are limned, as are Buster Keaton, W. C. Fields, Mae West, and the Marx Brothers. Katharine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Doris Day are the only other women accorded full chapters, but Myrna Loy, Carole Lombard, and Tina Fey, among others, garner tidbit status. More recent comic masters featured include Ben Stiller, the Coen Brothers, and Steve Martin. With broad coverage like this, the book has some reference applications, though most of the pieces are unfailingly upbeat. Even tragic death is fraught with dreamy potential: regarding Jean Harlow’s death at 26, Austerlitz muses, “What might Preston Sturges have made of her had she lived?” Entertaining reading. --Mike Tribby
Top Customer Reviews
What Another Fine Mess is, from what I can tell, is one man's opinion of which film comedians are worthy of mention, and to what degree they are worthy of mention, and which aspects of their lives and careers he thinks are relevant, who his favorites are and what he thinks of them, who can make him laugh and who can't, and whether or not he's pretty sure this one or that one was gay. While he say in the introduction that he simply did not have room for all the people worthy of mention, it was not that alone that bothered me. He does indeed, as mentioned before, print rumors as facts. Yes, he does discuss many of the comic films, and the lives of many comedians or comic actors. He certainly has seen a lot of movies. But as long as he prints myth as fact and states his opinion as though it also should be regarded as fact, all of his "factual" statements become suspect.
He spends whole chapters running people down (he does not, for example, care much for Mel Brooks, and it shows in every word of the chapter about him, where he even tears down one of the man's best films, and blatantly mocks him for what he assumes was his attitude while filming it). Those comedians he does like get the best treatment, but that is still no guarantee of accuracy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a required text for one of my college courses, but I'll be reading it long after the class is done. Read morePublished on September 17, 2012 by Micah
A comprehensive review of a broad subject. It is well written and with an effective and clear index. The book added a lot to my enjoyment of the wealth of DVDs from Netflix.Published on October 11, 2011 by D. J. Cooper
I had read some short reviews of this book, but decided to borrow it from the library to make sure it was something I wished to purchase. Read morePublished on April 14, 2011 by Jenn's Mom