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FLM 112 — Funny Thing About Love: 100 Years of Romantic Comedies

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm
Date(s): Mar 31—Jun 2
Duration: 10 weeks
Drop By
Drop Deadline: Apr 13
Unit(s): 2 Units
Tuition: $405
Format: On-campus course
Status: Open
Social mores concerning sex and love change from era to era. What’s acceptable or cool or desirable or fashionable to one generation is clichéd, laughable, or anathema to the next. Romantic comedies, which are made to cater to these ephemeral certitudes, freeze in time the practices and attitudes of their respective eras. Collectively, they are important documents of how people lived and what they thought about love and romance, right and wrong.

This underappreciated and misunderstood genre, which aims for light entertainment, often captures the soul of its time. Through clips and features, this course will trace the evolution of the romantic comedy, from the early breakthroughs of Gloria Swanson in the 1920s (Why Change Your Wife?) through today, with notable stops along the way to include the Rock Hudson–Doris Day films (Pillow Talk), which are now mainly interesting for being weird and discordant. We will end with two contemporary films—28 Hotel Rooms (2012) and Drinking Buddies (2013)—that hold a mirror up to our times. Students will come away with a survey of important romantic comedies, as well as a sweep of social history over the past 100 years.

Mick LaSalle, Film Critic, Hearst Newspapers

Mick LaSalle is the author of three books, Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood, Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of Modern Man, and The Beauty of the Real. He writes for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, and other Hearst newspapers.

Textbooks for this course:

No required textbooks
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