IT'S EASY TO IMAGINE A WORTHY DRAMA not finding its audience. It’s harder to believe there are laugh-out-loud comedies as good as, say, Tootsie or This is Spinal Tap that have been overlooked. But judge for yourself:

The Wrong Box—Larry (Tootsie) Gelbart cowrote this Victorian who’s-got-the-body farce, with an all-star cast of high British thespians (Ralph Richardson, Michael Caine, etc.) and low British comedians (Peter Sellers, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, etc.)

The Big Picture—2/3 of Spinal Tap give Hollywood the same treatment, with Kevin Bacon as a “flavor of the month” director and Martin Short hilarious as a truly deranged agent.

Real Life—In Albert Brooks’ first film, he’s an egomaniacal documentary-maker who moves in with Charles Grodin & family to film their lives—and wrecks them in the process.

The Male Animal—Surprisingly contemporary 1940 comedy, co-written by James Thurber, with Henry Fonda as an English prof who finds himself in a free speech controversy while everybody else is focusing on something really important: Homecoming.

Dead Tired (Grosse Fatigue)
—Even if you don’t get the in-jokes about modern French cinema, there are plenty of laughs in this farce by the respected actor-director Michel Blanc, in which he discovers he’s being impersonated by a double who does tacky things like judge wet T-shirt contests.

Cold Comfort Farm—Smart 1920s Londoner goes to visit gothically gloomy country cousins—but instead of falling under their grim spell, she decides to modernize the lot of them. Ripe sendup of the once-popular gothic genre is a hoot.


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