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Picture of Comic Grace

Comic Grace

We Mortal Fools in Movie Comedy

Author(s): James Combs

Book Description

Comic Grace is Comb’s third book on the movies for Cambridge Scholars Publishing. These books hardly form a trilogy, but they do express a pragmatic interest of the author; namely, the aspects of movies that we have not adequately studied. More specifically, the first, Movie Time, examines the inadequately understood temporal appearance of movies, in movies set in the past, the present, and the future, attempting to make sense of such questions as to why certain past periods still fascinate, how an emergent present is accompanied by cinematic treatment, and what kind of futures we like to speculate about by watching alternative futures on film. This temporal interest was complemented in the second book, Wit’s End by examination of qualitative interest, discussing how and why certain movies come to be regarded and remembered by the movie culture as great and memorable. Even though there is obviously no unanimous agreement on which movies are “canonical”, there is enough consensus among those who study and value films for us to constitute inquiry into why some films are thought great.

This third book in this sustained inquiry poses the question of not only why we think some movie comedies are great, but also what is unique and enduring in the legacy of comedy on film. The book looks at comedy with humane interest, entertaining the proposition that comedy may well be motion picture’s greatest achievement. If so, then it behooves inquirers to understand what movie audiences enjoy and cherish about movie comedy, and what it is about the film medium that so adequately communicates the comedic across such vast audiences and why they never tire of certain kinds of comedy. These interests will inspire students of the remarkable medium of film to inquire further into not only these questions, but also others that they find interesting and illuminating about the film experience.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-4923-4
ISBN-10: 1-4438-4923-5
Date of Publication: 01/09/2013
Pages / Size: 345 / A5
Price: £49.99


James Combs is Professor Emeritus from Valparaiso University in Indiana, USA. He is the author of twenty-three books, and is currently at work on another, Magical Suspension: The Movies as Ludenic Experience, an exploration of the aesthetics and pragmatics of movie play in an effort to understand what is going on in that experience. As a lifelong fan and mature academic student of the movies, he is curious to know. He lives quietly with Sara and seven stray cats in a peaceful mountain setting, venturing out only to see movies and make occasional trips to England.