Chapter

The same, but different: marriage, remarriage and screwball comedy

Kathrina Glitre

in Hollywood Romantic Comedy

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780719070785
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700990 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719070785.003.0014
The same, but different: marriage, remarriage and screwball comedy

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This chapter reviews the tension between the union of the couple and the representation of marriage in screwball comedy. Marriage is commonly understood in the screwball world to involve misery, oppression and confinement; it is nice because it is legal and, therefore, respectable. At the same time, marriage no longer necessarily involves a lifetime commitment. There is an evident tension between the diegetic representation of marriage and the screwball narratives drive to unite the couple. Marriage is never a beautiful thing in screwball comedy; it is always a problem. No one simply falls in love, gets married and lives happily ever after. This very variation on the themes of marital duplicity and infidelity appears in screwball comedy. Indeed, there are hardly any happily married characters; it is a world peopled with widowed fathers, maiden aunts, bachelor butlers and maids.

Keywords: couple; marriage; screwball comedy; lifetime commitment; marital duplicity

Chapter.  11254 words. 

Subjects: Film

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