City Lights: A Romantic Tragedy

957 Words 4 Pages
Romantic comedies have existed as long as film has existed. They often make a decent profit, and have lower than average production costs. They provide an easy escape from reality, with light hearted plots and an almost guaranteed happy ending. This genre includes a multitude of conventions, such as the meet cute and the grand declaration. This genre has also gone through many phases and eras. City Lights, released in 1931, is arguably the most famous romantic comedy of the silent era. Christopher Orr writes that the first age of romantic comedies belonged to the screwball. This era lasted from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s and included witty humor between the sexes and the switching of gender roles. The “Post-War Malaise” era lasted from …show more content…
The next era was the “Bittersweet Reinvention,” which lasted from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, and integrated the counterculture, along with presenting sex more frankly and not guaranteeing “happily ever afters.” The mid-1980s to the early 2000s brought forth more unconventional love stories, and the genre found itself making money again, so many films became convention heavy because it was the formula that brought audiences back into the theaters. Coming to America, released in 1988, is a great example of this time period because while it had all the typical tropes, the cast and locations were very different from what else was in theaters. In addition, TV Tropes explains why Amélie, released in 2001, is another great example of this time period because while it borrows some romantic comedy conventions, it is easy to miss them because of the original story and art direction (Romantic). From the early 2000s to present day, films have taken a raunchier turn to get audiences back, by playing with the age differences of couples to become more male-centric. Audiences are tired of the same conventions and the typical good-looking …show more content…
Romantic comedies in the 80 's also tended to focus more on comedy, often included well established comedians (Analysis). Coming to America is no exception, as Eddie Murphy wrote and starred in it. This film has the most traditional romantic comedy plot and elements of the three, probably because it was made in the late 80’s, when romantic comedies were in their heyday. Despite this film having the most traditional plot, the cast is the most diverse and non-stereotypical of the three. The characters are primarily African American, except for a couple token white people and the background characters in the streets and in the restaurant. Another stereotype smashed is the idea that all of Africa is very poor. Akeem comes from the fictional country, Zamunda, and is shown to have a very luxurious life. A big city like New York is a typical location for romantic comedies, but Coming to America paints it in a different light. However, when he travels to Queens, New York, it is portrayed as a poor, dirty area full of homeless people and criminals. Akeem and his family also speak fluent English, and speak with the dignity of royalty. This is heavily contrasted against the other American characters Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall play, such as the barber shop owner and the

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