“I’m Not Going to Fight.”



Screwball Comedy’s Ephemeral Joke. The movie That Uncertain Feeling, with screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart, was released by United Artists on April 20, 1941. An insurance man played by Melvyn Douglas (left) finds out that a concert pianist (Burgess Meredith, right) is dallying with his wife. Douglas confronts his rival. The bourgeois-hating, modernist musician declares: “I’m not going to fight.” Douglas’ sly retort: “No, I know, I understand—you’re an isolationist.” The screenwriter, Stewart, was an isolationist when he wrote that line. He wouldn’t be for long. A communist who accepted Stalin’s non-aggression pact with Hitler, Stewart would zigzag when the Party did. The very next month, Hitler broke the pact by invading Russia, and Reds turned gung-ho for U.S. intervention to save the flagship of Marxism-Leninism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s