During the Great Depression of the 1930s, viewers wanted an escape from the harsh realities of everyday life. Because of the emergence of talking pictures, silent comedians were dying away one by one, and humor and comedy were needed more than ever.
Silent slapsticks were quickly replaced by fast-talking comedy as a new generation of writers saw an opportunity to inject sharp conversation into the pictures. Screwball humor is arguably the most important comic genre of the 1930s. Actually, following silent slapstick, it’s the next important step in humor.
Screwball comedies, which first appeared in the 1930s, were a wild new breed of fast-talking romantic farces that mixed hilarity with elegance. It featured sex conflicts and took place in a world that was always on the verge of anarchy, with unfortunate males being caught up in the whirlwinds of fierce women.
The majority of screwball comedies had two major stars in the lead romance roles, with a slew of excellent supporting actors. Many of these films served as vehicles for love romances between the two rising stars of the film industry.
Onscreen, they were usually too busy verbally and sometimes physically abusing each other to see that they were in love, at least until the final moment. Yes, screwball humor was a popular genre in the 1930s, but there were others as well. During the decade, comic legends such as the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin published a slew of comedies, providing audiences with a variety of reasons to visit the movies.
So, while there’s a lot to speak about when it comes to 1930s comedies, this post will focus on the greatest 21 of them, so let’s get right to it, shall we? After all, the best way to learn about an era’s on-screen humor is to watch its funniest films in a marathon.