Funny Ha-Ha: American Comedy, 1930–1959

1/16/14 to 2/22/14

Join fellow filmgoers in the collective catharsis that is comedy. Part one of a three-part series, Funny Ha-Ha charts the triumphant chortles of American comedy from the 1930s through the 1950s and includes classics such as Duck Soup, It Happened One Night, Adam's Rib, and Some Like It Hot. And stay tuned for the announcement of our next installment, spanning the years 1960 to 1989.

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Past Films

  • Some Like It Hot

    • Saturday, February 22 6 pm

    Billy Wilder (U.S., 1959). Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon star in Wilder's outrageous cross-dressing comedy, selected by the American Film Institute as the funniest movie ever made. (120 mins)

  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

    • Friday, February 14 7 pm

    Howard Hawks (U.S., 1953). Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe are two gold diggers from Little Rock who prove that big shiny rocks are a girl's best friend in Hawks's brash, satiric take on the musical genre. Seriously saucy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes augured the end of screwball and the opening of the cleavage comedy. (91 mins)

  • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

    • Thursday, February 6 7 pm

    Frank Tashlin (U.S., 1957). Pop culture goes !POP! in Tashlin's puncture-proof provocation of media-driven consumerism. The Stay-Put Lipstick account needs a new set of lips to lay on and TV ad exec Rockwell Hunter (Tony Randall) knows just the proper pucker, Rita Marlowe (Jayne Mansfield). (95 mins)

  • Adam's Rib

    • Saturday, February 1 8:15 pm

    George Cukor (U.S., 1949). Adam's Rib isn't just a battle of the sexes, it's a full-blown military campaign. In their sixth film together, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy play married attorneys, arguing on opposite sides of a trial. (101 mins)

  • The Palm Beach Story

    • Wednesday, January 29 7 pm

    Preston Sturges (U.S., 1942). The charming Claudette Colbert abandons her failing hubby (Joel McCrea) to seek a fortune, preferably from a wealthy man, and even better from “the world's richest” (Rudy Vallee). This blazing battle-of-the-sexes comedy is from Preston Sturges, “the most spectacular manipulator of sheer humor since Mark Twain” (Manny Farber). (90 mins)

  • The Bank Dick

    • Friday, January 24 7 pm

    Edward Cline (U.S., 1940). "Respectable people had best avoid this comedy; if they see it, they may catch a spitball in the eye. W. C. Fields snarls out his contempt for abstinence, truth, honest endeavor, and human offspring” (Pauline Kael). (74 mins)

  • His Girl Friday

    • Friday, January 24 8:40 pm

    Howard Hawks (U.S., 1940). Newsroom editor Cary Grant tries to win back his top reporter-and ex-wife-Rosalind Russell in “one of the fastest of all movies, from line to line and gag to gag. . . . A tour de force of choreographed action” (Manny Farber). (92 mins)

  • It Happened One Night

    • Wednesday, January 22 7 pm

    Frank Capra (U.S., 1934). “Reporter Clark Gable chases spoiled heiress Claudette Colbert across most of the Eastern Seaboard, pausing long enough between wisecracks to set the definitive tone of thirties screwball comedy. . . . This is Capra at his best” (Chicago Reader). (105 mins)

  • Duck Soup

    • Sunday, January 19 3 pm

    Leo McCarey (U.S., 1933). The brotherhood of Marx was never zanier than in this absurd antiwar story about the possible war between Freedonia and Sylvania, replete with the Palaces of Power, bilious battlefields, and the brazen use of laughing gas. (80 mins)

  • My Man Godfrey

    • Thursday, January 16 7 pm

    Gregory La Cava (U.S., 1936). In Gregory La Cava's cynical screwball comedy of New York socialites in search of authenticity, "it is the speed, the wit, and the insolence that are so rich” (David Thomson). (95 mins)