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No Time for Comedy

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Director  William Keighley
Story by  S. N. Behrman
Language  English
6.4/10 IMDb

Genre  Comedy, Drama, Romance
Country  United States
No Time for Comedy movie poster

Writer  Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein
Release date  September 14, 1940 (1940-09-14)
Based on  No Time for Comedy  by S.N. Behrman
Screenplay  Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein
Cast  James Stewart (Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook), Rosalind Russell (Linda Paige Esterbrook), Charles Ruggles (Philo Swift), Genevieve Tobin (Amanda 'Mandy' Swift), Allyn Joslyn (Morgan Carrell, the Director), Clarence Kolb (Richard Benson)
Similar movies  Rosalind Russell and Allyn Joslyn appear in No Time for Comedy and My Sister Eileen
Tagline  A country boy takes over Broadway . . . until he gets into heart-trouble!

No time for comedy preview clip

No Time for Comedy is a 1940 comedy-drama film based on the play of the same name by S. N. Behrman, starring James Stewart, Rosalind Russell, Genevieve Tobin and Charles Ruggles.


No Time for Comedy movie scenes

Plot summary

No Time for Comedy movie scenes

Gaylord Esterbrook (Stewart), a reporter from Redfield, Minnesota (pop. 786, including livestock), writes a play about Park Avenue high society, even though he has never been to New York City. The play is being staged, but needs rewriting, so the producers bring Gaylord to New York. He meets the leading lady, Linda Paige (Russell), who initially mistakes him for an usher. The producer eventually loses faith in the play, but Linda persuades the other actors to continue on a cooperative basis. It becomes a success, and Gaylord and Linda get married. Gaylord proceeds to have four hits in four years, all starring Linda.

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After his most recent hit, Gaylord meets Amanda Swift (Tobin) at a party. She feels that his talents are being wasted writing comedies. At her urging, he writes a tragedy about immortality called The Way of the World. The play has no part for Linda. Gaylord eventually decides to divorce Linda and marry Amanda. Linda then decides to marry Amanda’s husband, Philo (Ruggles).

The Way of the World is a flop, with audiences laughing at unintentionally funny lines, prompting Amanda to drop Gaylord. However, Linda supports Gaylord in his time of need and they reconcile. She gets the idea for a comedy about smug, contemptible, callous stuffed shirts who think that dictators are inevitable and the average man is bloodthirsty and contemptible. Gaylord and Linda decide to start over, and even act out their initial meeting: Gaylord buys Linda cigarettes as if he were an usher.

Stage play

S. N. Behrman's play opened on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on April 17, 1939, and ran for 179 performances. The cast included Laurence Olivier as Gaylord Esterbrook and Katharine Cornell as Linda Paige, and was directed by Cornell's husband Guthrie McClintic.

Olivier starred in this play in New York while his lover, Vivien Leigh, was filming Gone With the Wind in Hollywood, causing Leigh stress due to their separation, and according to GWTW lore, influenced her portrayal as Scarlett O'Hara and according to her personal assistant at the time, hurry production so she could be reunited with him.


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