From Hollywood, golden-age laughs

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From Hollywood, golden-age laughs

Classic Hollywood comedy isn’t all about Charlie Chaplin. Little is known in Korea about the heyday of “talkie” comedies, which swept Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1950s. For this reason, Seoul Cinematheque is lanching special screenings of 14 comedy classics from next Wednesday to Feb. 27 at Seoul Art Cinema, one of the few arthouse theaters in town.
Black-and-white films featuring stars like Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn will take audiences back to the golden age of “screwball comedies.” These were lighthearted, fast-paced tales involving characters coming from different genders, social status and backgrounds. "Bringing Up Baby"(1938), directed by Howard Hawks, features Grant as a paleontologist trying to recover a dinosaur rib and, through a complicated chain of events, dealing with a woman (Hepburn) who has a pet leopard that likes to be serenaded. Another Hawks film, "Ball of Fire,"is an offbeat variation on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves."
Director Frank Capra tells a story of a small-town American’s adventure in New York in "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town"(1936), starring Gary Cooper as a man suspected of being mentally ill after deciding to donate his inherited fortune to the needy. The Marx Brothers’ “Duck Soup” (1933) will be screened, and the filmmakers Ernst Lubitsch and Preston Sturges are also on the menu.
Jerry Lewis, the slapstick comedian-turned-charity-fundraiser, can be glimpsed in his youth in "The Geisha Boy"(1958), directed by Frank Tashlin. Lewis stars as a magician falling in love with a geisha in Japan while also feeling affection for an orphan boy.
Seoul Art Cinema is better known for serious arthouse films, but perhaps viewers will relish the change of pace. As Charlie Chaplin said, "In the end, everything is a gag."


by Chun Su-jin

Tickets are 6,000 won ($5) for each film. To reach Seoul Art Cinema, take subway No. 3 line to Anguk Station and use exit 1. For more information, call (02) 3272-8707.
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