Honors College


Michael Arell

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



This study explores the lack of critical and scholarly attention given to the film genre of comedy. Included as part of the study are both existing and original theories of the elements of film comedy. An extensive look into the development of film comedy traces the role of comedy in a socio-cultural and historical manner and identifies the major comic themes and conventions that continue to influence film comedy. Ten comedy film case studies are then presented, analyzing the recurring themes and conventions in practice and extracting the existing critical language used in the analysis of comedy film. The final chapter of the study brings together the recurring themes of comedy as they exist in the film medium and identifies several distinct principles and conventions of comedy that make it unique and that lead to explanations of why critics and scholars have difficulty approaching the genre of comedy. The study concludes with the presentation of practical solutions to the established, inadequate state of comedy film criticism.