Arsenic and Old Lace: Madness in the Family
Frank Capra’s flamboyant farce—his only black comedy—finds an uncharacteristically frenetic Cary Grant surrounded by a clan of genteel maniacs.
British cinema’s mad genius Ken Russell dispenses with history, chronology, genre, and taste in this wild reimagining of the great composer’s life.
Harold Lloyd’s Ingenious Blend of Slapstick and Horror in The Kid Brother
In one of his most ambitious sequences, the silent-comedy legend throws his innocent “glasses” character into a death trap of a setting.
Hollywood’s Top Dog
One of cinema’s most charismatic canines shows off his comedic chops in Leo McCarey’s screwball masterpiece The Awful Truth.
Charlie & Jackie
In 1921’s The Kid, Charlie Chaplin gave his lonely Tramp a five-year-old sidekick in Jackie Coogan, turning the boy into Hollywood’s first major child star.
In the image of the Little Tramp choking, Chaplin found the perfect motif for evoking the horrors of hunger and modern consumption.
In some of his most elaborately choreographed set pieces, the silent-comedy master confronted the chaos of the world with balletic grace and rhythmic precision.
David Cairns takes a close look at the carefully calibrated minimalism of Hal Ashby’s masterful satire.
Le grand amour
The Executioner: By the Neck
The tropes of light comedy give way to a Kafkaesque nightmare in this incendiary critique of moral rot in Franco-era Spain.
Day for Night: Are Movies Magic?
François Truffaut’s love letter to the movies is a lightheartedly self-reflexive symphony of camera movement and musical flourish.
The Later Career of Richard Lester
The Return of Etaix
Thirty-Nine Steps to Happiness
For this Edinburgh-based writer and filmmaker, Hitchcock’s Scottish caper is both fantasy and reality.