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)


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From Chaplin to Apatow, a celebration of the unsung heroes of American film history

From City Lights to Knocked Up, this history examines American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother, the comedy, and puts the comic titans of the present in the context of their predecessors. The 30 chapters and 100 essays follow the connections that link Mae West to Marilyn Monroe and W. C. Fields to Will Ferrell. Offering unvarnished insight into comedians and directors such as Buster Keaton, Christopher Guest, Eddie Murphy, and Ben Stiller, this eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour encompasses the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between. Laurel and Hardy, Marilyn Monroe, Peter Sellers, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and the Coen Brothers are among others profiled, while a list of the top-100 American film comedies is also included.


"Entertaining reading."  —Booklist

“Conventional wisdom holds that analyzing comedy is a thankless task—who’s to say what’s funny, and why kill the fun of it?—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.”  —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 debate—and the flying pies—begin."  —Glen David Gold, author, Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside

"Comprehensive yet reader-friendly account."

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

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

"Clever and well-researched."  —Library Journal

"Sharp, scholarly."  —

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.