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Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy

by Saul Austerlitz

Book Reviews

"An affectionate chronicle of a century of laughs from the sliver screen [and] a compulsively readable reference for the confirmed comedy fan. . . . The author provides a delightful roll call of the funny men and women who have distinguished the cinema of laughter, and an indispensable listmaking tool for the Netflix generation in search of a good guffaw. An enthusiastic, well-observed, fresh look at old favorites that makes a compelling case for the genius of American film comedy."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Only the fearless spring into the canonical underpinnings of film comedy, a genre little understood and often, well, laughed at. Saul Austerlitz has thrillingly built a canon of artists, defending and critiquing their careers (is there anything of merit to be learned from Duck Soup? Yes! Meet the Fockers? Oh, yes!) with the acute binocular vision of a scholar and a fan. I was enrapt, argumentative, gobsmacked, amused, and ready to rethink what I know about American film comedy. Crack this book open and let the debate -- and flying pies -- begin.
--Glen David Gold, author of Sunnyside and Carter Beats the Devil

"Conventional wisdom holds that analyzing comedy is a thankless task -- who's to say what's funny, and why kill the fun of it? -- but Saul Austerlitz's wide-ranging survey of American film comedy is both illuminating and hugely enjoyable. With its sharp insights and vivid biographical sketches, it's first-rate film criticism and a terrific resource to boot."
--Dennis Lim, editor of The Village Voice Film Guide