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The Comedy of Marriage

Posted May 17, 2010 to photo album "The Comedy of Marriage"

In anticipation of the release of Lisa Cholodenko’s comedy The Kids Are All Right, FilmInFocus’ Peter Bowen and Nick Dawson look at works across multiple mediums that also poke fun at the institution of marriage.

Slide 1: The Country Wife (1675)
Slide 2: The Marriage of Figaro (1786)
Slide 3: Blondie (1930)
Slide 4: The Thin Man (1934)
Slide 5: My Favorite Wife (1940)
Slide 6: Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
Slide 7: Adam's Rib (1949)
Slide 8: We’re Not Married! (1952)
Slide 9: The Honeymooners (1955)
Slide 10: Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960)
Slide 11: The Lockhorns (1968)
Slide 12: La Cage aux Folles (1973)
Slide 13: Seems Like Old Times (1980)
Slide 14: Roseanne (1988)
Slide 15: The War of the Roses (1989)
Slide 16: Frankie & Johnny Are Married (2003)
Slide 17: It’s All Relative (2005)
Slide 16: Frankie & Johnny Are Married (2003)

Slide 16: Frankie & Johnny Are Married (2003)

There is no formula for good comedy, but certainly one thing which gives writers as good a shot as any to make audiences laugh is having their work ring true. If you can get viewers to feel like they recognize and can relate to what they’re seeing, the most difficult part is over. And arguably there has never been a comedy about marriage which had a bigger dose of authenticity than Frankie & Johnny Get Married, Michael Pressman’s movie about a TV director married to an actress who try to reinvigorate their marriage and her career by staging a production of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune which she will star in and he will direct. The brilliant hook of the movie was that Pressman starred as “Michael Pressman” and his real-life wife, actress Linda Chess, played “Linda Chess,” with thesp Alan Rosenberg also playing a version of himself. The film not only played off (and mocked) the real world dynamics of the actors’ relationships, but juxtaposed the tensions of the marriage and the tensions of the stage production, two scenarios in which Pressman, as husband and director, is desperately trying to avert disaster. Character actor Stephen Tobolowsky, playing Pressman’s friend Murray Mintz, has the choice line about the two laws of showbusiness, “Never use your own money and never work with your wife. Thank goodness there’s no dog in the play…”