QUAD screens eight films in December and January as part of the BFI Comedy Genius tour.
Some Like It Hot stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon (Joe and Jerry) as two down-on-their-luck musicians who find themselves out of a job and on the run after the police raid the speakeasy they are performing in, and they inadvertently stumble upon a gang war. With no money and nowhere to hide, a gig with Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators at a Florida beach resort seems like the perfect getaway. There's just one problem: the Syncopators are an all-female band! Armed with some dodgy wigs and wobbly falsettos, Joe and Jerry manage to join the band where they meet Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe): a hooch-swilling, ukulele-playing knockout with a soft spot for bad-boy saxophone players. Nearly perfect but then again Nobody's perfect! Some Like It Hot (U) screens at QUAD from 30th November to 3rd December.
Everyone knows Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but where are the women in silent film comedy? Marvelous Mabel Normand: The First Leading Lady Of Comedy tells the story of the trailblazing Mabel Normand who starred in 167 shorts and 23 features. Normand was the irrepressible spirit of early Hollywood, an extraordinary performer, she directed her own films, ran her own production company and worked with Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and a young Oliver Hardy. This is a package of four short films from the BFI National Archive, including Mabel's Blunder (1914), Mabel's Dramatic Career (1913), His Trysting Place (1914) and Should Men Walk Home? (1927) and features a newly commissioned score by The Meg Morley Trio. Marvelous Mabel Normand: The First Leading Lady Of Comedy (U) screens at QUAD on 5th and 6th December.
9 to 5, the second highest grossing American film of 1980, features the all-star cast of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton as three women who, sick of their egotistical, sexist manager, seek to change their all-female workplace for good. Judy, Violet and Doralee couldn't be more different but they bond over their mistreatment at the hands of their boss, who yells at Judy on her first day, consistently takes credit for Violet's ideas and harasses Doralee. They dream of getting rid of him in a brazen comedy that wears its politics on its sleeve. 9 to 5 (15) screens at QUAD from 7th to 10th December
Sidewalk Stories has all the elements of the great silent comedies: physical grace, perfect timing, sly social commentary, and being very, very funny. The difference is Sidewalk Stories was made in 1989. Just like Chaplin's The Kid, the film tells the story of an unlikely father-daughter pairing. The lead (played by director Charles Lane) is charged with the care of a toddler when her father is stabbed to death. Fearing he will be framed by the police for the murder; he flees the scene with the child. It's no surprise that they have a unique closeness as the pair are real-life father and daughter. Full of fantastic set pieces and social commentary, this doesn't just pay tribute to silent comedy, but also adds a major new chapter to it. Sidewalk Stories (15) screens at QUAD on 13th December at 8:30pm.
Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown was Pedro Almodovar's 1988 international breakthrough which secured his place at the vanguard of modern European cinema. Melding melodrama with screwball farce, and starring frequent Almodovar collaborators Carmen Maura and Antonio Banderas, this unimpeachable black comedy showcases Almodovar's trademark playful exploration of the female psyche. The film tells the story of Pepa (Maura) who resolves to kill herself with a batch of sleeping-pill-laced gazpacho after her lover leaves her. Fortunately, she is interrupted by a deliciously chaotic series of events - and many characters who are all possibly on the verge of a full emotional collapse. Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown (12A) S screens at QUAD on 20th December at 6:30pm.
Jacques Tati's glorious comic masterpiece, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday follows its lovable, protagonist as he attempts to relax "en vacances". Shy and complex, the geeky Monsieur Hulot (Tati) - clad in trademark trench coat, short trousers and stripy socks - aims to please but with his unfortunate clumsiness, usually ends up upsetting people instead. Tati gently mocks the more rigid types in French society who watch in horror as Hulot inadvertently barges in on a funeral, sets a firework stand on fire with his pipe and topples a Ming vase - rarely noticing the trail of destruction behind him, and all the while trying to impress a young ingenue. Minimal dialogue, an innovative use of sound, lighting and composition combine to make the film feel ahead of its time (1953) an effortlessly well-choreographed fusion of sight gags, slapstick and satire which launched Tati and his alter ego to international stardom. Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (U with Subtitles) screens at QUAD on 26th and 27th December.
There will be two further screenings which will take place in January Coming To America and His Girl Friday. Coming To America is the 1988 comedy which stars Eddie Murphy as the African Prince who goes undercover in Queens, New York to find a wife. Coming To America (15) which screens in QUAD from 4th to 5th January.
His Girl Friday is the1940 classic American screwball comedy film from 1940, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant. His Girl Friday (U) screens in QUAD from 6th to 8th January.
BFI ‘Comedy Genius’ a nationwide season celebrating the best in film and TV comedy, supported by funds from the National Lottery, led by Film Hub Midlands on behalf of the BFI UK Film Audience Network. Full details of Comedy Genius screenings and events happening all over the country can be found at bficomedy.co.uk #bficomedy