Cinema: Bombs Bursting in Air

1941 Directed by Steven Spielberg; Written by Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale

The biggest problem with Steven Spielberg's 1941 is its budget: this film is the most expensive Hollywood farce ever made. Certainly money has its uses in movies, but in a comedy? A key element of humor is surprise; jokes are funniest when they sneak up on the audience out of nowhere. In big-budget film making, the opportunities for comic am bush quickly disappear. Every joke announces itself in deafening stereo sound. Every pratfall is as momentous as Cecil B. DeMille's parting of the,...

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