Our Timeless Romance With Screwball Comedy

Born Out of the Great Depression, the Genre Reminds Us That Even in Hard Times There’s Laughter, Love, and Light

Ninety years ago, Columbia Pictures released a film that transformed the trajectory of American screen comedy.

Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night tells the story of spoiled Park Avenue heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert), who meets newspaper reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable) on a Greyhound bus in Miami. Ellie has just run away from her overbearing father, who disapproves of her recent elopement. Peter recognizes Ellie from the headlines and makes her an offer: He’ll help her return to New York to reunite with her husband if she gives him an …

When Silent Films Were a Force for World Peace | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When Silent Films Were a Force for World Peace

In the 1920s, Moguls Pitched the Technology as a ‘Universal Language’ That Was More Than Mere Entertainment

By the 1920s, the standard-bearers of the Hollywood film industry had taken to speaking about movies in the loftiest terms—as saviors of humanity. Leading star and producer Douglas Fairbanks declared, …

When San Francisco Kicked Hollywood to the Curb

Angered by Negative Depictions of Their City, in the Early 1970s Civic Leaders Regulated Filmmakers Out of Town

Canada’s motion picture industry earned the nickname “Hollywood North” because the country so often serves as a center of location production for American films. But in the early 1970s, this …

La La Land’s Debt to Ethnic Musicals of Yore

Its “Burst-Into-Song” Style Echoes the Intimacy of Early Black, Mexican, and Jewish Productions

“Without a nickel to my name/ Hopped a bus/ Here I came …” So sings a young woman at the start of La La Land, the original musical film by …

How ‘Bambi’ Hoodwinked American Environmentalists

The Sentimental Disney Cartoon Cemented the Myth That Man and Nature Can’t Coexist

Perking up her ears, the dog was the first to notice them, just a few blocks from our homes in east-central Illinois. One-by-one the does strolled from the woods …