Unfaithfully Yours (1948) is a Preston Sturges film. And so I had a Preston Sturges experience.
I knew coming in that contemporary audiences were thrown by this movie, confused by its shifts in tone. But you know what? I was still thrown by this movie, confused by its shifts in tone. I laughed a lot, especially in the final act.* Perhaps because I spent the middle of the film ... engaged in all other human emotions.
At one point I covered my face in horror, aghast at what I was seeing. I now realize the Dali painting should have warned me that what I was seeing was only real for a certain value of real. Instead, when I realized this routine was about to recur, I cried aloud, "No, Preston! No!" But this time, instead of anger and vengeance, I was treated to delicious self-pity. Which was ... funny, I guess. And then the third time---
So yeah. It's ... a comedy. It almost becomes a tragedy along the lines of Othello or a weeper along the lines of [tip of my tongue] or a freaking farce of particularly vicious vintage.
This is a whole lotta movies crammed into one perplexing space.
So it's funny kind of like, say, Burn After Reading is funny. I mean, that's funny, right? I remember laughing.
It's a funny movie. Is it?
I don't know. Burn After Reading is funny, but is it a funny movie? Great scott, the blood in that film!
Yeah. Once again, the only movies I can find to compare Sturges to are those of the Coens. At least this one obeys the rules of comedy in its final moments. But every moment up to then is steadfastly engaged in breaking rules galore.
Hoooolee, what a movie. I'm dizzy. I need to lie down.