A Year in Books/Day 128: Fast-Talking Dames

  • Title: Fast-Talking Dames
  • Author: Maria DiBattista
  • Year Published: 2001 (Yale University Press)
  • Year Purchased: 2002/2003
  • Source: Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller Company
  • About: The best part of screwball comedies is, of course, the dialogue. The plots are usually superfluous and in soft-focus; the snappy writing and whirlwind performances are what make these staples of the 1930s and 1940s so entertaining and timeless. While the male performers were no slouches, the women killed it time and again, routinely giving some of the best comedy turns in film history. The actresses discussed include Claudette Colbert, Rosalind Russell, Ginger Rogers, Carole Lombard, Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy and Barbara Stanwyck. Whew, what a list! Are you interested yet?
  • Motivation: The title alone was allurement enough. Throw in the snazzy cover photo of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell from His Girl Friday (1940) and I was a goner. Oh, and then there is the subject itself.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 103: “Like Harlow, Carole Lombard is often impatient or unhappy with the way her life is going, but her comic response to her predicaments is more rambunctious than raffish. Her sexual morals are definitely higher, but she is also the more accomplished liar. Or should we say, in a more generous mood, that where Harlow makes candor her comic calling card, Lombard is the great pretender.”
  • Happiness Scale: 8 1/2
    Cropped screenshot of Carole Lombard from the ...

    Cropped screenshot of Carole Lombard from the trailer for the film Nothing Sacred (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

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