Another Fine Mess

Another Fine Mess
Another Fine Mess

Another Fine Mess

A History of American Film Comedy
By Saul Austerlitz


528 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF

Trade Paper, $24.95 (US $24.95) (CA $27.95)

ISBN 9781556529511

Rights: US & CA

Chicago Review Press (Sep 2010)


eBook Editions Available

Will it work on my eReader?
Price: $24.95
Google Preview
Media Copy


From Chaplin to Apatow, a celebration of the unsung heroes of American film history
Charlie Chaplin. Buster Keaton. The Marx Brothers. Billy Wilder. Woody Allen. The Coen brothers. Where would the American film be without them? Yet the cinematic genre these artists represent--comedy--has perennially received short shrift from critics, film buffs, and the Academy Awards. Saul Austerlitz’s Another Fine Mess is an attempt to right that wrong. Running the gamut of film history from City Lights to Knocked Up, Another Fine Mess retells the story of American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother--the comedy. In 30 long chapters and 100 shorter entries, each devoted primarily to a single performer or director, Another Fine Mess retraces the steps of the American comedy film, filling in the gaps and following the connections that link Mae West to Doris Day, or W. C. Fields to Will Ferrell. The first book of its kind in more than a generation, Another Fine Mess is an eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour of the American comedy, encompassing the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between.


"Entertaining reading."  â€â€Booklist

"Conventional wisdom holds that analyzing comedy is a thankless taskâ€â€who's to say what's funny, and why kill the fun of it?â€â€but Saul Austerlitz's wide-ranging survey of American film comedy is both illuminating and hugely enjoyable. With its sharp insights and vivid biographical sketches, it's first-rate film criticism and a terrific resource to boot."  â€â€Dennis Lim, editor, The Village Voice Film Guide

"I was enrapt, argumentative, gobsmacked, amused and ready to rethink what I know about American film comedy. Crack this book open, and let the debateâ€â€and the flying piesâ€â€begin."  â€â€Glen David Gold, author, Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside

"Comprehensive yet reader-friendly account."  â€â€

"A sprawling but incisive biography of film comedy history."  â€â€North County Times

"Entertaining and amusing . . . this book truly highlights the best of the genre."  â€â€

"Clever and well-researched."  â€â€Library Journal

"Sharp, scholarly."  â€â€

Author Biography

Saul Austerlitz is a writer. His work has been published in numerous publications, including the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and Slate. He is the author of Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.