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One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
I watched LAUGHTER, a 1930 film starring Nancy Carroll and Fredric March. Many comments and reviews state this film as a forerunner of the 30s screwball comedy. Yes there were some screwball elements, such as the silly sequence when the stars, caught in the rain, break into a house and on bear rugs while their clothes dry. There's also a terrific scene when March is playing piano when the butler (Leonard Carey) tries to correct him. They end up playing duets! There's also a nice party scene where Eric Blore shows up in an angel costume. Another standout scene is when the daughter (Diane Ellis) starts to jazz dance and is joined by Carroll while Frank Morgan sourly looks on.
Still, I don't see this film as a comedy, let alone a screwball comedy. Carroll (she's very good) plays a former show girl who marries Morgan for his money. His daughter is only a little younger than Carroll. The daughter is a little wild; Carroll is a lot bored. She has everything in her life but "laughter." When she takes up with March, we know the marriage is doomed. So does everyone else.
Morgan's character hasn't an ounce of humor in him. There's also a tragic starving artist type (Glenn Anders) who gets involved with Ellis. It's with this character that any shred of comedy drains from the picture as doom settles over the storyline.
This is still a very good film with solid work from its stars.
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