Five Great Comedies In Times of Stress

Apr 23, 2020Newsletter

“Man is a genius when he is dreaming”

Akira Kurosawa

In these terrible days, everyone is encountering some degree of stress and cabin fever.  One way to get some relief is to stream the great comedies, both old and new. Listing only five was very tough but here goes, with a brief explanation of why we chose each film:

We included one film from three terrific comedy filmmakers: Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and Woody Allen. And, we included, our favorite Billy Wilder comedy and one film from Milos Forman, who is not known as a director of comedies:


Charlie Chaplin: This film, made in 1936, is timeless even today.

Modern Times

The film portrays Charlie Chaplin in his Tramp persona as a factory worker employed on an industrial assembly line. Frenetically feeding an inhuman machine…

Marx Brothers: Their films are all zany and hyper-kinetic. This one is a perfect example:

Duck Soup

The small country of Freedonia is bankrupt. The very wealthy Mrs. Teasdale agrees to provide financial assistance on condition that her friend…

Woody Allen: Putting aside his private life, the man was a genius. We chose this film of the many exceptional ones he did because, we felt, its theme was the most original.

The Purple Rose of Cairo

The film is set in a small New Jersey town in 1935 during the Great Depression. Cecilia is a clumsy waitress who seeks escape from her bleak life…

Billy Wilder: An enormously versatile director, but he reached a peak with this extraordinary comedy:

Some Like It Hot

Joe and Jerry, two musicians, accidentally witness gangster Spats and his henchmen gun down members of a rival gang in a garage…

Norm Jewison: Directing such serious films as “Amadeus” and “Valmont,” who would figure he would also direct one of the all-time most popular comedies:​


Thirty-seven-year-old Loretta Castorini is an Italian-American widow living in a Brooklyn Heights brownstone with her mother, Rose…


“John Fithian, the president of the National Association of Theater Owners, told The Wall Street Journal that movie-theater owners both large and small face substantial risk of bankruptcy. The $2 trillion rescue package that the U.S. government passed will be crucial.”
—Alexander Gladstone & Erich Schwartzel, The Wall Street Journal

“Sony Pictures has pushed back many of its major tentpoles, including MORIBUS, GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE, PETER RABBIT 2, and UNCHARTED to next year, 2021.”
—VARIETY staff


Way back in 1995, film critic Roger Ebert compiled a list of 100 GREAT MOVIE MOMENTS. Here are my 8 favorites:

Orson Welles smiling enigmatically in the doorway in The Third Man

Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg wading in the fountain in La Dolce Vita

Gene Kelly doing the song number Singing’ In the Rain

The computer Hal 9000 reading lips in 2000: A Space Odyssey

Charlie Chaplin being recognized by the little blind girl in City Lights

Singing of La Marseilles in Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman tearful goodbye at the end of Casablanca

The shimmering opening appearance of Omar Sharif in the white hot Arabian desert in Lawrence of Arabia.

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

Ove Lindahl lives in a Swedish townhouse neighborhood. He’s had three recent emotional setbacks: he was deposed of his chairmanship of the neighborhood association, six months ago he lost his beloved wife, Sonja…

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A New Leaf

A New Leaf

Henry Graham, a playboy who inherited a substantial amount of money, has been informed by his lawyer that he’s dead-broke. He spent all his wealth on maintaining a profligate lifestyle. Henry has no skills and no interest in pursuing work…

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Miami-born Carl Casper is the head chef of the high-end Gauloise Restaurant in Brentwood, California…

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