WEIRDLAND: Happy Anniversary, Leo McCarey!

Friday, October 02, 2015

Happy Anniversary, Leo McCarey!

Happy Anniversary, Leo McCarey! Born Thomas Leo McCarey (3 October 1896, Los Angeles, USA - 5 July 1969, Santa Monica), he was one of the most influential screwball film directors, involved in nearly 200 movies, the most well known today being Duck Soup, Make Way for Tomorrow, The Awful Truth, Going My Way and An Affair To Remember. French director Jean Renoir once said that no other Hollywood director understood people better than Leo McCarey. He is among an elite group of eight directors who have won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (Orig/Adapted). The others are Billy Wilder, Francis Ford Coppola, James L. Brooks, Peter Jackson, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, and Alejandro González Iñárritu.

McCarey directed 6 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Ralph Bellamy, Irene Dunne, Maria Ouspenskaya , Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald and Ingrid Bergman. Crosby and Fitzgerald won for their performances in "Going My Way" (1944). Orson Welles said of the film "Make Way for Tomorrow" (1937) that "It would make a stone cry", and rhapsodized about his enthusiasm for the film in his series of interviews with Peter Bogdanovich, "This Is Orson Welles". In Newsweek Magazine, Errol Morris named "Make Way for Tomorrow" (1937) his number one most important film, stating "The most depressing movie ever made, providing reassurance that everything will definitely end badly."


Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers cope with love, laughter, and war-themed Nazi intrigue in this comedy/mystery directed with panache by Leo McCarey, Once Upon a Honeymoon. An American burlesque girl intent on social climbing unknowingly marries a Nazi in the guise of an Austrian Baron. When an American radio reporter tracks the couple down to investigate, she inadvertently falls in love with the reporter instead.


Ginger Rogers demonstrates satin double-breasted jumpsuit (Once Upon a Honeymoon, 1942)


Like all McCarey heroes, Lucy believes, as in the song from Love Affair, that “wishing can make it so,” which goes to the heartbeat of Western civilization. Insistently, she makes the best of the hand she is dealt. In contrast to the usherette in the theater earlier, who complained that the guy in the film playing there was a “rat,” Lucy admires the way “the girl believed . . . no matter how black things looked.” Indeed, when Lucy admonishes Rhoda—“When you're seventy . . . about the only fun you have left is pretending that there ain't any facts to face"—we pity her, but what we take for weakness turns out to be strength. In attending to Bark, Lucy makes their last hours joyful and full when they could have been unrelieved agony. Source: www.criterion.com

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