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Fast-Talking Dames$
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Maria DiBattista

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300088151

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300088151.001.0001

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Fast-Talking Dames

Maria DiBattista

Yale University Press

This chapter first looks at the legacy that the fast-talking dame created. Film critic André Bazin assessed such a legacy by first appreciating the idea that American comedy “was the most serious genre in Hollywood—in the sense that it reflected...the deepest moral and social beliefs of American Life.” In that respect, it was the fast-talking dame that best articulated the nature of those beliefs and their moral claim on us. This chapter thus looks at the language that was inherent in American comedies at the time. Novelist, screenwriter, and reviewer Penelope Gilliatt, for one, praised these films for being able to develop a comic language that was at the same time incredibly accurate and serious in its topics of discussion.

Keywords:   American comedy, André Bazin, fast-talking dame, social beliefs, American Life, moral claim, Penelope Gilliatt, comic language

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