“Screwball”: A Genre for the People : Representing Social Classes in Depression Screwball Comedy (1934-1938)

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Filmvetenskap

Abstract: History welcomed the screwball comedy genre in 1934, a time where cinema was in urgent need of providing escapism to audiences victim of the Great Depression. Screwball films, therefore, chose to underline the distinction between social classes and to emphasise on the imperfections of the upper class. The following thesis aims to determine how Depression screwballs (screwball comedies released from 1934 to 1938) used their narrative power to establish this distinction between opposed social classes and how this reflects the undeniable importance of an overlooked genre. It is with a socio-historical approach, personal analyses and observations, that the following research has been conducted. In conclusion, it has been recognised that the genre drew its importance, not only in the way it represents social classes but also how it depicts their mutual interactions, therefore forming a significant whole.

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