Posted: July 31st, 2022

Romantic Comedy Film Essay

Pillow Speak (1959), starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson, and Annie Corridor (1977), starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, are two very totally different movies that each belong to the style of romantic comedy. Each movies acquired 5 Oscar nominations. Pillow Speak was nominated for finest actress, finest supporting actress, musical rating, artwork path, and the one which it gained, finest story and screenplay written straight for the display screen (Kimmel, 2008, p. 124). Annie Corridor was nominated for finest image, finest director, finest authentic screenplay, finest actor, and finest actress.

It was the primary time, since Orson Wells in 1941, that the identical individual, Woody Allen, was nominated for writing, directing, and starring in a movie (Kimmel, 2008, p. 171). It gained 4 of the 5 Oscars, solely dropping out on finest actor. Pillow Speak is a movie that gives a dated, foolish interpretation of the event of a romantic relationship, particularly due to its formulaic strategy to the topic, whereas Annie Corridor gives a extra timeless, real looking view of romantic relationships, probably as a result of its time interval offered a way more radical system for this style.

A comparability of the 2 movies analyzing their historic contexts, settings, visible traits, music, and the totally different ways in which they obtain their “completely satisfied endings” will present why Pillow Speak solely works in 1959 however Annie Corridor is a romantic comedy that’s nonetheless pleasurable at the moment. The historic contexts of Pillow Speak (1959) and Annie Corridor (1977) are vital in understanding and analyzing these two romantic comedies.

Tamar Jeffers McDonald, in her ebook Romantic Comedy-Boy Meets Lady Style (2007) identifies Pillow Speak as belonging to a sub-genre of romantic comedies often known as a intercourse comedy, and she or he cites three key historic developments as instrumental in bringing about this specific sub-genre (p. 40). First, in August of 1953, Alfred Kinsey’s report on Sexual Habits within the Human Feminine was revealed and revealed that simply over 50% of the 5,940 single white single ladies interviewed for the examine weren’t virgins (McDonald, 2007, p. 1). Additionally, the journal Playboy was first revealed in November/December 1953, and launched the mannequin of the fashionable playboy, who now, because of the journal, understood the significance of the assorted consumables he would discover crucial for having fun with intercourse and attracting ladies: “the stereo, information, alcohol, the bachelor pad” (McDonald, 2007, p. 42).

The third growth was the profitable 1953 launch of the movie The Moon is Blue, a movie which was denied a seal of approval from the Manufacturing Code Administration: Because of the success of the movie (The Moon is Blue) and viewers members’ evident willingness to not be protected of their viewing by the Manufacturing Code Administration, the facility of this physique started to be commonly challenged by filmmakers and thereafter quickly declined. By 1956 it had been revised right into a format which lifted all remaining taboos besides nudity, sexual perversion and venereal illness and lasted on this weakened type till 1966 (McDonald, 2007, p. 2). Thus, the romantic comedies of the mid-1950’s, or the brand new “intercourse comedies,” typically had a brand new kind of feminine protagonist, one who could possibly be enthusiastic about intercourse and probably was not a virgin. Invariably they included a brand new setting as imagined by Playboy and its advertisers, the bachelor pad, in addition to the playboy bachelor personae for the main man. And, they had been allowed extra freedom in language and subjects proven and mentioned onscreen, because of the decline of PCA energy over the movie trade.

The movie Pillow Speak, and a lot of the different romantic comedies of the mid-fifties and early sixties, are significantly dated due to the sexual mores of this time interval. Although the ladies of this time are not portrayed as bored with intercourse, the “actual opposition (in intercourse comedies) lies in when the intercourse is to be achieved because the man is meant to need intercourse with out marriage and the lady to need marriage earlier than intercourse” (McDonald, 2007, p. 45). The specter of being pregnant was an enormous concern for single ladies earlier than the appearance of the contraception capsule, after which it was not (due to the capsule’s introduction in America within the early sixties).

In 1959, intercourse outdoors of marriage was dangerous conduct for a single girl, and Jan Morrow, the unbiased, trendy, single profession girl of Pillow Speak acknowledged this within the movie. When advised that she may get a personal phone line if there was an emergency, resembling a being pregnant, Jan tells the telephone firm worker that being pregnant was an emergency that she was not keen to have as a single girl. The shortage of phone strains and the need of Jan Morrow and Brad Allen sharing a celebration line, the predicament upon which your complete plot relies upon (McCallum, 1999, p. 72), additionally locations this movie in a “very exact and hort-lived historic second” (McDonald, 2007, p. 51). Annie Corridor, which was launched in 1977, is likewise very a lot a product of its specific time interval.

The social and political upheavals of the late 1960s had been mirrored within the romantic comedies of the 1970s. Many various occasions such because the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the Miss America protests with attendant bra-burning occasions, the publication of Masters’ and Johnson’s Human Sexual Response, the ultimate finish of the Manufacturing Code and its alternative with a rankings system, and the high-profile My Lai bloodbath of civilians in Viet Nam by U. S. troopers fashioned the historic context of the time interval (McDonald, 2007, p. 61). Due to all of the violence and alter, folks had been “ shifting away from mental involvement with up to date occasions in direction of a less-engaged perspective” and had been changing into extra self-absorbed and introspective (McDonald, 2007, p. 61).

By the early 1970s, statistics confirmed marked improve within the variety of marriages ending in divorce and that there have been extra single ladies than single males dwelling in our massive city facilities, and abortion was mentioned and publicly debated due to the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Courtroom case of 1973 (McDonald, 2007, p. 62). This was a time when only a few romantic comedies had been getting made, and people who did get made had been marked by a brand new culture-“the world of intercourse, love, and romance appeared a really totally different place from that of even a decade beforehand” (McDonald, 2007, p. 2). McDonald (2007) identifies a sub-genre for the movies of this time interval: the novel romantic comedy, and provides it this working definition: The unconventional romantic comedy typically retains the essential framework (boy meets, loses, regains woman) of the usual romantic comedy, however makes a lot of its personal realism in sure areas – language, sexual frankness – being ready to discard older conventions and incessantly allowing a way more open ending (p. 72).

Annie Corridor is radically totally different from Pillow Speak, and nearly another conventional romantic comedy, instantly – the opening titles scream realism with out graphics or accompanying tune or sound, and encompass white lettering on a black background. Then Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) speaks on to the digital camera. If the story is about Annie Corridor, because the movie title may counsel, it’s advised by Alvy: “The story will not be merely a narrative, however his story, along with his framing. Usually, what we learn about Annie and the elationship comes filtered via Alvy, an intrusive narrator able to halting the narrative and stepping out from it with a purpose to entreat the viewers’s interpretive favor” (Knight, 2004, p. 214). The movie is introspective, and self-reflexive within the sense that it’s conscious that it’s a movie, as can be anticipated of a radical romantic comedy (McDonald, 2007, p. 67). And it’s not only a story of boy meets woman – Alvy Singer is 40 years outdated and has been married twice earlier than.

The story of the romance with Annie will not be advised chronologically; though Annie and Alvy are verbally sparring with one another of their first scene collectively within the movie, identical to Jan and Brad in Pillow Speak, they didn’t begin out hating one another. Addressing Alvy and Annie’s unhappiness as a pair, Diane Jacobs writes: What’s cinematically novel right here is that boundaries between happiness and unhappiness are purposefully obscured. We’re proven no first time that Annie doesn’t need to sleep with Alvy, no morning when Alvy awakes to find that Annie’s as soon as endearing volatility has grown annoying.

The place the normal Hollywood romance posits a particular when and why issues “go fallacious,” this isn’t so comfortably the case right here. By fragmenting plot and skewing chronology, by exhibiting us Annie and Alvy bickering earlier than the primary kiss, Allen undermines the salience of a pivotal occasion and underscores the miserable perspicacity of a stranger’s recommendation to Alvy: “It’s by no means one thing you probably did. That’s how persons are. Love fades. ” (qtd. in Knight, 2004, p. 214).

And, Annie Corridor unmistakably reveals the realism of the interval and an openness in direction of frank sexual language as fee of intercourse, sodomy, and sexual issues are mentioned in Alvy and Annie’s opening scene collectively, in public whereas ready in line for a film. Annie and Alvy have intercourse nearly instantly additionally, though not the day they meet however undoubtedly on the evening of their first date. This was foreshadowed by Alvy’s demanding a goodnight kiss early on their first date collectively, so they may get that half over and calm down.

The iconography of a conventional romantic comedy often consists of an city setting (McDonald, 2007, p. 11) and each Pillow Speak and Annie Corridor happen in New York Metropolis. Visually, nonetheless, NYC seems very in another way within the two movies. Ross Hunter, the producer of Pillow Speak, has been described as “one of many final of the old style Hollywood producers. He rejected the notion that audiences wished extra realism on display screen. In his thoughts they wished the identical factor that they had all the time wished: glamour” (Kimmel, 2008, p. 114).

The residences and evening golf equipment in Pillow Speak are dazzling spectacles of coloration, outrageous purples and pinks. Brad Allen’s bachelor pad is provided with spiral staircases and artwork, in addition to computerized light-dimming, record- taking part in, door-locking buttons that enable him to gracefully seduce ladies. The pictures within the montage of locations that Jan and Rex Stetson go throughout their whirlwind courting interval present solely essentially the most stunning facets of NYC, and even the climate is all the time good. In distinction to this colourful, heightened actuality, Annie Corridor’s New York Metropolis seems to be actual.

The residences that the characters dwell in have principally white partitions, and the evening membership that Annie first sings in is dingy, noisy, and has horrible lighting. It undoubtedly appears genuine, not a set. The contrasts in costuming are comparable. Jan Morrow wears unbelievably stylish ensembles to work, and her courting robes make each date appear to be promenade. Brad Allen all the time attire like a model of the 21st century icon Don Draper of Mad Males, whereas Alvy Singer wears the plaid shirts and military jackets of the 1970’s.

Diane Keaton is claimed to have launched what can be often known as the “Annie Corridor look” when she confirmed up wearing a floppy hat, a vest, a tie, and dishevelled pants; the costumer Ruth Morley was purportedly aghast, however Woody Allen known as it genius (Kimmel, 2008, p. 163). In discussing the contrasting visible traits of the 2 movies, it’s laborious to disregard the romantic comedy trope (recurrent factor of the style) of the tall, darkish, and good-looking main man. Rock Hudson, after all, is the epitome of the main man, and Woody Allen will not be.

A inventory character of a romantic comedy is commonly the unsuitable boyfriend (McDonald, 2007, p. 1), performed by Tony Randall in Pillow Speak. Randall performs Jonathan, Brad Allen’s finest good friend and coincidentally, a person intent on marrying Jan Morrow. Sadly, he simply doesn’t appear to attraction to Jan. Though he’s wealthy, he’s shorter and fewer handsome than Rock Hudson, and considerably neurotic, as evidenced by his references to his psychiatrist. This description nearly completely describes Alvy Singer. The realism of the novel romantic comedy permits for a number one man that appears like Alvy Singer. A visible factor that’s frequent to each the movies is using the cut up display screen.

It was a “dazzling technical trick” in 1959, and its use in Pillow Speak was “daringly racy” because it visually implied that Jan and Brad had been sharing a shower or a mattress (McDonald, 2007, p. 51). A display screen divided into thirds was used within the opening titles of Pillow Speak, and one other model of the cut up display screen reveals Jan wedged between Brad and certainly one of his girlfriends as all of them speak on the social gathering line, foreshadowing what is going to occur by the top of the movie. In Annie Corridor, the cut up display screen system is used a number of occasions – exhibiting Annie and Alvy assembly with their respective analysts, and contrasting their households as they’ve a household meal.

In each situations, Alvy will get two-thirds of the display screen, and Annie the remaining third, which once more emphasizes that Annie Corridor is de facto Alvy’s story. Christopher Knight (2004) writes that this specific a part of the movie symbolizes a basic distinction between the sexes: This distinction appears iconized within the split-screen presentation of Annie and Alvy within the chambers of their respective analysts. Alvy lies upon upon a sofa, staring away from the analyst who sits meditatively in his leather-based wing chair.

Annie, in flip, sits in a lightweight, molded chair going through her analyst. The bodily association, with its stark, white and chrome trendy furnishings, is purposely designed to not name consideration to itself, in order to not override the core matter: the dialog between the 2 ladies (p. 219). The visible variations within the two remedy settings echo the outcomes: Annie beneficial properties actual insights from her remedy and makes use of it to resolve a few of her private issues; Alvy has been in remedy for over 15 years and there may be not a number of proof that it has helped him.

Daniel Kimmel (2008) commented on Woody Allen’s use of varied movie gadgets in Annie Corridor: Allen gave most of the gadgets – animation, sub-titles, cut up screens – his personal distinctive spin. The gags labored as a result of they had been, certainly, character pushed. After we see Annie and Alvy at their separate therapists, it’s not simply the look of the contrasting scenes – with Alvy on a conventional sofa and Annie seated going through her physician – however what they’re saying. Each are requested how typically they’ve intercourse. “Hardly. Possibly 3 times every week,” complains Alvy whereas Annie replies, “ Continuously!

I’d say 3 times every week” (p. 166). The usage of sound and music in Pillow Speak and Annie Corridor are considerably totally different. Among the many micro-tropes that McDonald (2007) says typically happen within the sub-genre of the intercourse comedy, moreover the protagonists who hate at first sight, the masquerade, and a set piece of an anti-marriage speech (all of which happen in Pillow Speak) is the music which “typically blends a romantic fashion for the intimate moments with a comedic rating” (p. 45). In Pillow Speak, the musical rating is sort of a snigger observe, telling you what is meant to be humorous or romantic.

Since Doris Day was a singer, the movie showcases her voice. She sings the title tune which is sort of nonsensical because the character Jan Morrow is hardly the kind of girl who would sing, “There should be a pillow-talking boy for me…” Nevertheless, using tune as she drives to Connecticut with Rex truly explains her intentions. She doesn’t truly sing it out loud however in her thoughts, a type of song-soliloquy. The lyrics (“Maintain me tight, Make like to me, Darling, possess me…) appear to obviously suggest that, echoing the findings of the 1953 Kinsey report, right here was a single girl who would have intercourse earlier than marriage.

Doris Day herself affirmed this in an interview years after the movie: “I don’t assume I used to be a virgin. I went off to the nation with him and I in all probability would have succumbed, besides I discovered he was a phony and ran away. The viewers – you thought I used to be a virgin” (Kimmel, 2008, p. 118). In distinction to Pillow Speak’s less-than-subtle musical rating, Annie Corridor is noticeably silent. It has no opening tune or music, no rating, only some seconds of music in a single scene as Annie drives with Alvy to the nation, and her two songs in nightclubs, traditional songs that come from a distinct period.

First she performs “It Needed to Be You” with a background of speaking, clashing dishes, and ringing telephones, and in a later scene “Appears Like Previous Instances,” this time to a very quiet and respectful viewers. Annie’s voice singing “Appears Like Previous Instances” is then performed within the movie’s closing as a montage of scenes from their relationship is proven and as Alvy sums up his narration. Each the songs impart vital which means to the romantic story – the 1924 “It Needed to Be You” has lyrics explaining why the singer places up with a domineering accomplice, and Annie’s efficiency, like Annie herself at this level, is unsure and not sure.

At a later level within the movie, the 1945 ballad, “Appears Like Previous Instances,” is a portent to the ending of the connection between Annie and Alvy, as Annie has grown into a distinct individual and performer. Thus, the songs and the musical rating of Pillow Speak are mainly formulaic and synthetic, whereas the extra real looking music (and the performances themselves) in Annie Corridor impart which means to the narrative and clarify the event of the character Annie.

McDonald (2007) offered this grasp definition of a romantic comedy: “A romantic comedy is a movie which has as its central narrative motor a quest for love, which portrays this quest in a light-hearted manner and nearly all the time to a profitable conclusion” (p. 9). Usually it’s assumed completely satisfied ending is boy will get woman or bride will get groom. In Pillow Speak, they go a step additional and never solely do Jan and Brad find yourself married, they get a being pregnant (and ultimately 4 youngsters as the additional pillows in the long run titles appear to point).

For this to happen, Brad Allen needed to rework from being a womanizer and cad to a person extra like Rex Stetson, a person who revered ladies and took sufficient time to get to know Jan in order that he may fall in love together with her, so deeply that he was keen to interrupt off with all his different ladies and supply himself up for marriage. Sadly, he needed to carry her in her pajamas via the streets of NYC to get her consideration sufficiently to indicate her that he was now this man, able to get married. If this reasonably contrived ending appears foolish and simplistic within the current day and age, it actually adopted the system completely for 1959.

However the radical romantic comedies of the 1970’s had a barely totally different system: these movies, “as romantic comedies, need to deliver in regards to the completely satisfied union of a lady and a person…,however as trendy movies, they’ve to indicate themselves to be past the naivety that such uncomplicated couplings depend on” (McDonald, 2007, p. 69). There’s a parody of the “completely satisfied ending” in direction of the top of Annie Corridor – Alvy has written a play the place, when the man goes to California to get the woman, she agrees to return to New York with him. Alvy turns to the digital camera and remarks, ‘You understand how you’re all the time making an attempt to get issues to return out good in artwork as a result of it’s actual tough in life’” (Kimmel, 2008, p. 172). Alvy all the time thought that Annie wanted to vary – she learn the fallacious books, used phrases like “neat” and phrases like “la de dah,” wanted to take grownup schooling courses, needed to bear remedy. Annie incessantly lamented that Alvy didn’t assume that she was good sufficient to be critical about. Annie ultimately skilled sexual issues as a result of she had hassle being intimate with somebody who didn’t respect who she was.

In Pillow Speak, Brad Allen was supposedly reworked, however in Annie Corridor, Alvy Singer was not. Nevertheless, Annie did rework, as she turned extra assured via remedy and grownup schooling, and publicity to movies and higher literature. The precise dialog in California when Alvy pursued Annie went this manner: Annie: You might be incapable of having fun with life. (lastly she understands Alvy) Alvy: Do you need to get married or what? (Alvy nonetheless can’t wholeheartedly commit) Annie: You’re the motive I bought out of my room, that I used to be capable of sing, and get extra in contact with my emotions and all that crap. Thanks for serving to me develop into a greater Annie) Alvy and Annie don’t find yourself as a pair however they do find yourself pals. Alvy will not be shattered by this ending however “affirms that relationships are well worth the dangers” (Gehring, 2002, p. 79). And a wiser, wiser, safer Annie is prepared now to seek out happiness as effectively. Whereas this isn’t a conventional “completely satisfied ending,” that is undoubtedly a “profitable conclusion. ” Pillow Speak advised viewers that Jan Morrow and Brad Allen ended up with the perfect final result to their relationship, however Annie Corridor satisfied viewers that what occurred between Alvy and Annie was for the most effective.

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