THE HEROINE OF THE ROMANTIC COMEDY
Romantic comedy has always been thought of as a women’s genre, although there continue to be exceptions to this, most markedly in the recent ﬁlms of Judd Apatow, but also in the work of Woody Allen. Nevertheless the heroine is central to the appeal of the genre to its audience and, as with many ﬁlm heroines, a female spectator may seek
someone to identify with, but also someone who embodies dreams and desires. Yet the romantic comedy heroine is almost always the construct resulting from the work of men, due to the patriarchal nature of the ﬁlm industry, creating a tension in the representations. Increasingly there
have been female directors of romantic comedies, for example Nora Ephron (Sleepless In Seattle, You’ve Got Mail) and Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses, The Proposal), yet they remain in a minority. The earliest romantic comedies were notable in involving a number of female writers, such as Vina
Delmar (The Awful Truth), Hagar Wilde (Bringing Up Baby and I Was A Male War Bride) and Ruth Gordon (Pat and Mike and Adam’s Rib). Certainly, many of the heroines of the screwball era were feisty, fast-talking, no-nonsense characters, yet the majority of the production team were male.