The Best Comedy Public Domain Films – RetroFilm Vault

AFFAIRS OF CAPPY RICKS ****************

(1937, BW, 58 MIN) Walter Brennan, Mary Brian. A crotchety old man banishes his family to a desert island for a

lesson in minding one’s own business.

BASHFUL BACHELOR, THE ****************

(1942, BW, 76 MIN) Zazu Pitts, Grady Sutton, Oscar O’Shea, Louise Currie, directed by Malcom St. Clair Lum and

Abner of early radio fame are confirmed old bachelor store clerks who are quite content with their lot until the widow

Abernathy traps Lum into a marriage proposal. Or does she?

BEDSIDE MANNER ****************

(1945, BW, 76 MIN) John Carroll, Ruth Hussey, Charles Ruggles, Ann Rutherford, Claudia Drake, directed by

Andrew L. Stone. Ruggles plays the part of an overworked doctor who wants his reluctant niece (Hussey) to practice

medicine with him. She’d rather not but gets conned into it through the manipulations of her uncle and a willing test



BEST OF W.C. FIELDS ****************

BW, 100 MIN) Five Mack Sennett shorts are presented in their complete uncut form: “The Dentist,” “The Barber,”

“The Golf Pro,” “The Pharmicist,” and “A Fatal Glass of Beer.”

BREAD, LOVE AND DREAMS ****************

(1953, BW, 90 MIN) Vittorio De Sica, Gina Lollobrigida, directed by Luigi Comencini. The police sergeant in a rural

village is looking for a wife. He finds Miss Lollobrigida. How good can things get?

CASTLE IN THE AIR ****************

(1952, BW, 90 MIN) David Tomlinson, Helen Cherry, Margaret Rutherford, Barbara Kelly, directed by Henry Cass

An impoverished Scottish lord takes in guests to finance the upkeep of his estate which the socialist government is

threatening to take away. He must simultaneously convince a government clerk that the place is worthless and extol

its virtues to a rich American divorcee who wants to buy it and him. And Margaret Rutherford thinks he might even

be the rightful king! Great stuff.

DUMMY TROUBLE ****************

(1940, BW, 59 MIN) Harry Langdon, Betty Blyth, Ralph Byrd. An absent minded department store owner has a bad

day when he forgets his wedding anniversary, and his wife gets the wrong idea when from a distance she observes

him carrying a manikin and setting “her” up in a bedroom display. Add in a sleazy divorce lawyer and the plot


FRECKLES COMES HOME ****************

(1943, BW, 57 MIN) Gale Storm, Johnny Downs, directed by Jean Yarbrough. Freckles comes home from college to

find that his girl is in love with a gangster, and that criminals have taken over everything.

FROLICS ON ICE ****************

(1938, BW, 65 MIN) Roscoe Karns, Lynn Roberts, Edgar Kennedy. Comedy about a little girl who’s uncle makes

her an ice skating star only to take all of her money.

GREAT RUPERT, THE ****************

(1950, BW, 86 MIN) Jimmy Durante, Terry Moore, Tom Drake, Quennie Smith, Chick Chandler, directed by Irving

Pichel. A down and out family of acrobats discover hidden piles of money in their house. Just as Durante is about to

be charged with major crime, the source, a pet squirrel, is discovered to be the Robin Hood of the animal world,

stealing from a wealthy neighbor.

HERE COMES TROUBLE ****************

(1948, COLOR, 52 MIN) Bill Tracy, Joe Sawyer, produced and directed by Hal Roach. The third of Roach’s Laff

Time series has Tracy as a cub reporter with a photographic memory. Filled with slapstick comedy.

HI DIDDLE DIDDLE ****************

(1943, BW, 72 MIN) Adolphe Menjou, Dennis O’Keefe, Martha Scott, Pola Negri, Billie Burke, June Havoc, Walter

Kingsford, directed by Andrew L. Stone. Young newly-weds who only want to be left alone are plagued by the bride’s

wacky family of con artists. Quick and amusing.

HIS DOUBLE LIFE ****************

(1933, BW, 66 MIN) Roland Young, Lillian Gish, directed by Arthur Hopkins. A light English comedy about a painter

whose death is reported prematurely, his unfortunate valet buried in his place. He has the opportunity to attend his

own funeral where he is ousted for his uncontrollable sobbing. He continues to paint and the new canvases throw the

art world into an absolute tizzy.

HOLLYWOOD OUTTAKES ****************

42 MIN) Starring Joan Crawford, Constance Bennett, Ronald Reagan, Jane Mansfield, Mickey Rooney, Bette

Davis, Frank Sinatra, Porky Pig, Charles Laughton, W.C. Fields, Carol Lombard, William Powell, Jean Harlow, Mae

West, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart. Interview of James Dean in costume for “Giant”

discussing auto safety with Gig Young.

HOOK LINE AND SINKER ****************

(1930, BW, 62 MIN) Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Natalie Moorhead, Dorothy Lee, directed by Edward F Cline.

A pretty heiress restores an old hotel. Then some crooks try to steal jewelry from the hotel safe and are thwarted by

an incompetent manager.


(1950, BW, 51 MIN) Cecil Kelloway, Clem Bevans, Virginia Grey, David Bruce, directed by Hal Roach. Charming,

irrascable Clem Bevans visits with his granddaughter and her family, solving most of the town’s problems while he’s

there. Old premise, but well done, and Bevans steals the show.

I’M FROM ARKANSAS ****************

(1944, BW, 68 MIN) Slim Summerville, Bruce Bennett, directed by Lew Landers. Rolicking slapstick comedy about

a pig giving birth to ten little piglets!

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK ****************

(1952, COLOR, 81 MIN) Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Buddy Baer, directed by Jean Yarbrough. An Abbott and

Costello (therefore funny) version of the fairy tale. Entertaining for kids and adults.

JOE PALOOKA ****************

(1934, BW, 86 MIN) Stu Erwin, Lupe Velez, Marjorie Rambeau, Robert Armstrong, Mary Carlisle, directed by Ben

Stoloff. A young boxer is taken under the wing of a fight promoter and readied for a match with the champ. Based on

Hal Fisher’s comic strip. AKA “Palooka”.

JUDGE PRIEST ****************

(1934, BW, 87 MIN) Will Rogers, Tom Brown, Anita Louise, Henry B. Walthall, Hattie McDaniel, directed by John

Ford. Rogers plays the title role of a small town judge, who solves the problems of the townfolks with the wisdom of

Soloman and the wit of Will Rogers. This is the America that Ronald Reagan remembers.

LADY SAYS NO, THE ****************

(1951, BW, 77 MIN) David Niven, Joan Caulfield, James Robertson Justice, directed by Frank Ross. Lightweight

comedy about the fickle Caulfield, who’s just a girl who can’t say yes, and won’t decide if marriage is best for her.

LET’S LIVE A LITTLE ****************

(1948, BW, 85 MIN) Hedy Lamarr, Robert Cummings, Anna Sten, Robert Shayne, Mary Treen, directed by Richard

Wallace. Amusing romantic comedy with Lamarr as a psychoanalyst and Cummings as a high strung businesman,

who fall in love with one another.

LIFE WITH FATHER ****************

(1947, COLOR, 118 MIN) William Powell, Irene Dunne, Edmund Gwenn, ZaSu Pitts, Elizabeth Taylor, Martin

Milner, directed by Michael Curtiz. Based on the play which ran for 3,224 performances on Broadway, this is a story

of a wealthy Irish-American family in 1880’s New York city. What plot there is deals with the relationships each of

the family members have with “Father” played flawlessly by Powell. Very warm and very very funny. AAN


LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THE ****************

(1960, BW, 70 MIN) Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles, Dick Miller, Jack Nicholson, directed by Roger

Corman. Classic black comedy. On a bet, Roger Corman shot this film in two days using a set scheduled to be torn

down. Strangely, it holds up well. Haze, a dim witted twerp, accidently invents an enormous, beautiful, flowering plant

that has one drawback, it feeds on human blood. A young Jack Nicholson does a hilarious bit as a dental patient who

craves pain.

LOST HONEYMOON ****************

(1947, BW, 71 MIN) Franchot Tone, Ann Richards, Frances Rafferty, Una O’Connor, directed by Leigh Jason. An

amnesiac soldier, Tone, is shocked when he discovers not only that he is married, but that he’s the father of twin


MOLLY AND ME ****************

(1945, BW, 76 MIN) Monty Wooley, Gracie Fields, directed by Lewis Seiler. Fields is charming as an unemployed

entertainer who undertakes the task of housekeeping for autocratic English aristocrat Wooley.

  1. HULOT’S HOLIDAY ****************

(1953, BW, 87 MIN) Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Louis Perrault, Michelle Rolla, Andre Dubois, Suzy Willy.

Jacques Tati’s award-winning tale of a blundering bachelor who unwittingly wreaks havoc during his holiday at a

French summer resort. AAN STORY, SCREENPLAY


  1. UNIVERSE ****************

(1951, BW, 85 MIN) Jack Carson, Janis Paige, Robert Alda, directed by Joseph Lerner. Young wrestler, promoted

by Carson, is on the rise in this lighthearted look at the sport.

MY SON THE VAMPIRE ****************

(1952, BW, 70 MIN) Bela Lugosi, Arthur Lucan, Dora Bryan, Richard Wattis, Judith Furse, Philip Leaver, directed

by John Gilling. Old Mother Riley attempts to thwart a mad scientist’s scheme to conquer the world with a monster

robot. AKA “Old Mother Riley Meets the Vampire”.


(1942, BW, 57 MIN) Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan, Anne Gillis, directed by Wallace Fox. More fun with

the Bowery Boys. They protect a young woman from some bad guys.

ONE BODY TOO MANY ****************

(1944, BW, 75 MIN) Jack Haley, Bela Lugosi, Jean Parker, directed by Frank McDonald. Detective comedy-spoof

with Lugosi tossed in for good measure. Haley is an insurace salesman who is mistaken for a private eye and ends up

being paid to guard the corpse of a recently deceased millionaire until the reading of the will. Naturally the corpse

dissappears, but others are found. Lugosi is his usual menacing self.

OUR GANG KIDS 1 ****************

(1930’S, BW, 58 MIN) In “Schools Out,” the gang thinks they might enjoy summer vacation. In “Spanky sells

Bikes,” a commercial starring Spanky.

PANIC BUTTON ****************

(1963, BW, 90 MIN) Maurice Chevalier, Eleanor Parker, Michael Connors, Jayne Mansfield, Akim Tamiroff,

directed by George Sherman. A gangster tries to lose $500,000 legitimately, but ends up making money when the

plan backfires.

PARLOR, BEDROOM, AND BATH ****************

(1931, BW, 72 MIN) Buster Keaton, Reginald Denny, directed by Edward Sedgewick. Great moments with Buster

Keaton in this domestic farce about role reversal.

PRIVATE LIFE OF DON JUAN, THE ****************

(1934, BW, 87 MIN) Douglas Fairbanks, Merle Oberon, Binnie Barnes, Melville Cooper, directed by Alexander

Korda. So you’d like to be Don Juan, the world’s greatest lover? You might change your mind after seeing this

delightful comedy adventure with the one and only Douglas Fairbanks as the harried great lover, tired of maintaining

his romantic reputation. An added complication is the appearance of an imposter starting a new string of conquests.


(1947, BW, 90 MIN) Harold Lloyd, Frances Ramsden, Raymond Walburn, Franklin Pangborn, Margaret Hamilton,

Edgar Kennedy, directed by Preston Sturges. An ambitious self-starter of the 1920’s learns that success has its price.

AKA “Mad Wednesday”

SO THIS IS WASHINGTON ****************

(1943, BW, 64 MIN) Chester Lauck, Norris Goff, directed by Ray McCarey. A radio team thinks they have invented

a synthetic rubber so they go to Washington to sell it to the brass.

SOUND OF LAUGHTER ***************

(30S – 40S, BW, 70 MIN) Hosted by Ed Wynn, with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Milton Berle. A

compilation of some early comedic efforts by some very big stars.

THREE GUYS NAMED MIKE ****************

(1951, BW, 87 MIN) Jane Wyman, Van Johnson, Howard Keel, directed by Charles Walters. Wyman is a rookie

stewardess who makes more than enough mistakes trying to learn the ropes while getting the eye from three men, all

named Mike.


THUNDER IN THE CITY ****************

(1937, BW, 60 MIN) Edward G. Robinson, Nigel Bruce, Constance Collier, directed by Marion Gering. Robinson, an

American salesman in London, meets up with a pair of aristocrats who are devoid of assets except for an apparently

worthless mine in Africa. Robinson employes his sales techniques to sell shares, raise capital and get the mine going.

A clever, amusing script by Robert Sherwood



(1914, BW, 72 MIN) Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Marie Dressler, Charles Bennett, Chester Conklin,

Keystone Kops, Milton Berle, directed by Mack Sennett. This first ever feature length comedy film stars Dressler

as an innocent farm girl in the big city who is fleeced by con man Chaplin, but who does manage to get her revenge.

And yes, Uncle Miltie makes his first screen appearance. Silent, with backround music


TWO TARS ****************

(1929, BW, 20 MIN) Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charley Hall. The Boys, this time portraying two sailors on shore

leave, attempt to get themselves out of a traffic jam and every car on the block gets destroyed.




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