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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present

Our Man Gregory La Cava

She Married Her Boss
November 8, 2013 -
December 18, 2013
Read Nick Pinkerton's excellent article on the series for Artforum here.

Despite having directed two of the decade’s best films, My Man Godfrey (1936) and Stage Door (1937), director Gregory La Cava (1892-1952) has long remained the “forgotten man” of 1930s Hollywood.  La Cava, however, brought a unique bite to Depression-era entertainment, lacing his screwball comedies (Godfrey, The Half Naked Truth) and his dramas (Gallant Lady) with darker currents of social reality.  La Cava started out as an editorial cartoonist before turning to animation in 1917, producing shorts based on comic strips, such as the “Katezenjammer Kids.”  By 1924, La Cava was cranking out live-action two-reel comedies at Paramount’s Astoria studio where he developed the fierce independent streak and taste for improvisation that he would carry into feature production.  Such qualities endeared him to performers as diverse as W.C. Fields, Katharine Hepburn and Irene Dunne, whose unleashed energies La Cava channeled into wicked, sophisticated satires---and indictments---of American capitalism and class pretentions that frequently foregrounded strong, independent women.  Personal troubles (he was a heavy drinker) ultimately derailed La Cava’s career but his critical reputation continues to grow, thanks to recent retrospectives in the U.S. and Europe.  The Archive is pleased to add to the momentum with this sampling of his work. 

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