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Funny Ladies
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Funny Ladies Introduction

Carol Burnett once observed, in a TCM tribute to Lucille Ball, that "In Hollywood, all the top comics were men." Even so, the ravishing redhead lauded by Burnett as the "Empress of Comedy" emerged as one of the funniest performers of all time in her television sitcoms and such movies as The Long, Long Trailer (1954).

The dazzling lineup of female talent in our tribute proves that Ball had plenty of company in demonstrating that femininity and uproarious comedy are not mutually exclusive. Burnett herself became a case in point with her scene-stealing film debut in Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963), a TCM premiere.

Sparkling star turns in our lineup include Mae West in My Little Chickadee (1940), with the queen of double entendres playing Flower Belle Lee, a floozy who tricks con man W.C. Fields into marriage. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944) offered the irrepressible Betty Hutton one of her funniest and most daring roles as Trudy Kockenlocker, a small-town girl who becomes pregnant after a wild night on the town.

Among the showy supporting performances are Margaret Dumont's put-upon dowager in A Night at the Opera (1935) and Rosalind Russell's sharp-tongued busybody in The Women (1939). Filling out the festival is Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies (2001), a documentary about the actress whose impressive comic gifts were overshadowed by her private life.

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