“Bringing Up Baby” (1938) shows off Katherine Hepburn as a true comedian. She and Cary Grant go toe-to-toe as they come out with one funny line after another. The story itself is absurdly ridiculous and filled with zany plot twists, but its brazen outlandishness is what makes the film so funny, so appealing, and so enjoyable.
“The Absent Minded Professor” (1961) is a fantastical comedy with special effects that are still entertaining so many decades later. Fred MacMurray is ideally cast as the likable college professor who invents a gravity-defying rubber substance he names “flubber.” One of the best scenes in the movies is when flubber allows a height-challenged basketball team to beat their taller opponents.
“Back to the Future” (1985) is the summer box-office smash that turned Michael J. Fox into a proven movie star. The film showcases Fox’s appealing charm and flawless comedic timing. He and the hysterically funny Christopher Lloyd play so well off each other that their scenes together seem magical. The film weaves science-fiction, comedy, great characters, and nostalgia into a story the audience wishes would never come to an end.
“Duck Soup” (1933) satirizes the normally unamusing subjects of dictatorship and war…but, despite its focus, the movie is often referred to as the best and funniest project by the legendary Marx Brothers. The film is filled with slapstick antics and verbal wisecracks. The scene where Harpo convincingly poses as Groucho’s reflection in a broken mirror is a great example of how funny the Marx Brothers could be without saying even one word.
“My Fair Lady” (1964) is a spectacular musical, but it is also very funny. The film stars Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison who make the familiar story of the transformation of a duckling into a swan believable, fun, and enchanting. The film is filled from beginning to end with great songs and great humor. It is not surprising Rex Harrison received a Best Actor Oscar for his role as the linguistic expert who teaches manners and diction to Audrey Hepburn’s initially uncultured character.
“The Odd Couple” (1968), starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, makes you believe that friendship is stronger than any differences two people may have. Based on Neil Simon’s play of the same name, the movie’s sarcastic wit, perfect casting, and well-written dialogue end up making its oddball characters rather endearing. Lemmon and Matthau dole out some perfectly timed lines, like when Felix says “In other words, you're throwing me out” and Oscar replies “Not in other words. Those are the perfect ones.”
There’s nothing quite like a movie that makes you laugh out loud. The humor in a really funny movie seems to swallow up everything else so everything else disappears for a while. Hollywood has made some enormously successful comedies over the decades that have stood the test of time.
Here are just a few “oldies but goodies” that are bound to make you chuckle no matter how many times you’ve seen them!