I finished reading James Harvey’s Romantic Comedy In Hollywood From Lubitsch To Sturges. It’s about 700 pages. It seems a worthwhile exercise, as the book really is about film, and therefore teaches how to observe a film closely. Harvey also covers the same movies from different perspectives. He has chapters about a eras, others about directors, and others about actors. The same films come up several times, but with a different focus.
At the same time, I felt that there was something missing. There was no good discussion of the culture of the audience and how this conditioned the possibilities of movies. When a European director, such as Lubitsch, began to work in America, there must have been a big change in how audiences responded to his films.