Good Films: Classic comedies

Keaton's The General, via United Artists.
Keaton’s The General, via United Artists.
Our “Good Films You May Have Missed” series calls attention to movies new and old that are all Filmworks worthy. Titles are available from Netflix and other streaming services.

USA • 1926 • Dirs.: Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton
This short video contains useful narration that explains how Keaton, “The Great Stone Face,” wrung humor from mechanical objects.

Reiner's This is Spinal Tap, via Studio Canal.
Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap, via Studio Canal.
USA • 1984 • Dir.: Woody Allen
From critics Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat: “Danny is a mediocre New York theatrical agent whose clients include a blind xylophonist, a stuttering ventriloquist, and a parrot who croons ‘I’ve Got To Be Me.’ ”

USA/U.K. • 1988 • Dir.: Charles Crichton
From critic Roger Ebert: “[This] is the funniest movie I have seen in a long time; it goes on the list with The Producers, This is Spinal Tap, and the early Inspector Clouseau movies.”

USA • 1984 • Dir.:Rob Reiner
From critic Janet Maslin: “There’s an in-joke quality to the film, one that will make it all the more hilarious to anyone at all knowledgeable about either the esthetic or the business aspects of pop music. However, you need not have heard a band like Spinal Tap to find its story highly amusing.”

To jog your memory, see the Time Out London list of the 100 best comedy movies.

Jim Piper is a Filmworks board member, a filmmaker, and a retired film studies instructor.