The Ladykillers (Alexander Mackendrick, 1955). One of the many highly-regarded British comedies of the 1950s, and, like most such movies, largely lost on the likes of me. The plot is clever, Alec Guinness knows enough to let his fake teeth do the acting for him, and Katie Johnson is slyly entertaining as the Tweety-Bird lady. But it is never fall-on-the-floor funny … maybe it’s just me. I always think these films are not meant to make me fall on the floor, that they are meant to be smartly amusing. Yet I often read about people who actually do find the movies that funny. The Guardian called it the fifth-greatest comedy of all time. #887 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. Remade by the Coen Brothers in 2004. 6/10.
The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937). Another highly-regarded comedy, this time of the screwball variety, and, like many such movies, a favorite of mine. Irene Dunne apparently elicits mixed reactions from viewers, but I’ve always loved her in this movie. Cary Grant is Cary Grant, the Chow Yun-Fat of his day. The Awful Truth is less screwy than something like Bringing Up Baby, but that extra bit of grounding might actually help the film. Dunne and Grant play so well off of each other that you can watch The Awful Truth multiple times without the gags getting old. The gags are good, but the actors are even better. And the final scene, which is barely screwball at all, is witty and very sexy. #365 on the TSPDT list. 9/10.