I’ve just watched a relatively recent essay on screwball comedies, assembled for the “One Hundred Years of Cinema” series. Farcical, fast-paced stories about class conflicts, filled with nervy, eccentric characters and usually involving a romance of one kind or another…right? Most of us associate screwball comedies with the ’30s and early ’40s (It Happened One Night, Twentieth Century, My Man Godfrey, The Awful Truth, Nothing Sacred, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, The Lady Eve, Sullivan’s Travels). And yet the British narrator says screwball comedies actually lasted until the mid ’50s (i.e., 1952’s Monkey Business, 1953’s How to Marry a Millionaire, 1955’s The Seven Year Itch). When did screwball comedies end and spunky, slapstickish comedies begin? Were No Time for Sergeants and Operation Mad Ball screwball or just comedies with broad, outrageous material? Billy Wilder‘s Some Like It Hot sure felt screwballish in ’59, and that went double for One, Two, Three two years later. By the time Peter Bogdanovich‘s What’s Up, Doc came along in ’72 it was regarded solely as a genre tribute, a throwback. I think it’s better to define the screwball era as (a) primarily inspired by the Great Depression, and (b) starting in ’34 and ending nine or ten years later. Screwballish comedies that came later…well, just call them comedies with bounce and attitude.