If you’re not a classic movie buff, you probably didn’t recognize that name (and therefore may not be interested in reading further). I bring up the name of Leo McCarey because today is his birthday (born Oct. 3, 1898), and he deserves to be remembered, at the very least, for the great movies he directed (and, in some cases, also wrote and/or produced) during Hollywood’s “Golden Age” — including these:
DUCK SOUP (1933) – not only one of the Marx Brothers best, but one of the best, comedies of all time.
SIX OF A KIND (1934) – with a cast including W, C. Fields, George Burns, Gracie Allen and Charlie Ruggles, how could this not be great?
BELLE OF THE NINETIES (1934) – a Mae West classic.
RUGGLES OF RED GAP (1935) – one of McCarey’s lesser known films, but one of his very best. Charles Laughton did it (starred as a butler).
MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (1937) – speaking of lesser known McCarey films, this one probably takes the cake. A departure from his previous run of comedies but just as well done, and a personal favorite of mine.
THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) – screwball comedy starring Cary Grant; McCarey won Academy Award for Best Director. Enough said.
LOVE AFFAIR (1939) – Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer (quoting film critic Leonard Maltin) “are a marvelous match” in a “superior comedy-drama.” Remade twice (including once by McCarey) but, as is usually the case with remakes, not up to the original.
After the 1930s, McCarey continued to make movies into the 1960s, but in my opinion, never again with the magic of the above films. But what a glorious run he had while it lasted.