Arsenic and Old Lace

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  • Topic: Comedy, Film, Film genre
  • Pages : 3 (917 words )
  • Download(s) : 61
  • Published : February 9, 2014
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2 February 2014
PSVP 414 Cinema

The Comedy Genre:
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

From my perspective there are numerous potential functions of film genres one can derive from the film experience in American culture that cuts across many sectors of American life but especially political and sociological. Fortunately for cinephiles, Arsenic and Old Lace is a film that lends itself to that function.

As another example of film-driven genre shifting, in the late 1960s and early 1970s the classic “war film” genre was transmogrified from the WWII and post-war period in which the fervent support of the US film industry for the wartime efforts of the US and its allies approached propaganda levels to the introspective, self-critical and thoughtfully challenging films such as Apocalypse Now (1979), The Deer Hunter (1978) and Full Metal Jacket (1987) that acted as autopsies of US public opinion against the Vietnam War and US Asian foreign policy .

During the same period, other drastic sociological changes were fomented in part by films such as Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice (1964), Pink Flamingos (1972), Scenes from a Marriage (1973), Carnal Knowledge (1971) and Tootsie (1982) that challenged and changed US relationship; sexual; and, gender genres and roles as they never had before.

While it is true that the changes had been coming as evidenced by the relaxation of the US Motion Picture Code of 1922; they were slow and not far-reaching. The US film industry was slow to react, but when confronted with the wholesale changes brought about by the foreign Auteur movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s, coupled with the explosive and momentous sociological changes of the 1960s, the industry was forced to react strongly and produce films that changed the social genre and cinematic concepts of the nature of love and sex. The Doris Day and Rock Hudson days were gone forever.

The tools of repetition and familiarity were put to good use in the film...
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