Laughter | Chicago Reader
Laughter

Laughter

Laughter

The stock market crash was nearly a year old by the time this razor-sharp Paramount comedy hit the screen in 1930, which can't have done much for its thematic currency: the heroine (Nancy Carroll), a former showgirl, begins to pull away from her husband (Frank Morgan), a filthy rich broker, after her former lover (Fredric March), a penniless composer, comes back into her life. The tone of pre-Code naughtiness is exemplified by the scene in which the sweethearts sneak into an abandoned house and romp around in the living room on all fours, each costumed in a bearskin rug. Director Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast got his start assisting Chaplin on The Gold Rush (1925), though the most valuable players here are screenwriters Donald Ogden Stewart (Holiday, Love Affair) and Herman J. Mankiewicz (Dinner at Eight).

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