Lively and highly readable, What Made Pistachio Nuts? examines what Henry Jenkins calls the anarchistic tradition of American film comedy. Anarchistic comedies of the 1930s mock the social order and celebrate the creativity and impulsiveness of their protagonists in a form of clowning that ultimately reestablishes the status quo.
Jenkins focuses on well-known films such as the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup and W.C. Fields' It's a Gift, as well as all-but-forgotten works like Diplomaniacs,Hollywood Party, So Long Lefty, and others.
Jenkins (film and media studies, MIT) examines a genre of comedy films produced early in the 1930s that centered around particular comedians, such as W. C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, Eddie Cantor, and Burns and Allen. He shows how the zany antics of vaudeville combined with the conventions of classical film narrative to celebrate the collapse of the social order. Illustrated with stills. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)