Despite having directed two of best films of the 1930's, My Man Godfrey (1936) and Stage Door (1937), director Gregory La Cava [masked]) long remained the “forgotten man” of 1930s Hollywood. La Cava, however, brought a unique bite to Depression-era entertainment, lacing his screwball comedies (My Man Godfrey, The Half Naked Truth) and his dramas (Gallant Lady) with darker currents of social reality.
La Cava (pictured below in a behind the scenes photo seated to the right) with started out as an editorial cartoonist before turning to animation in 1917, producing shorts based on comic strips, such as the “Katezenjammer Kids.” However, 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.
This evening the UCLA Film Archives will be screening a 35mm print of the acclaimed MY MAN GODFREY. La Cava’s comic masterpiece entertains with a subtle social message about the contrasting worlds of the rich---represented here by an eccentric family populated with brilliant character actors---and the poor. William Powell is outstanding as Godfrey Smith, a WWI veteran found living in a dump and hired by a flighty but sympathetic socialite (Carole Lombard) to be the family butler. Godfrey soon establishes himself as the wisest member of a nutty household.
Universal Productions, Inc. Based on the novel by Eric Hatch. Screenwriter: Morrie Ryskind, Eric Hatch. Cinematographer: Ted Tetzlaff. Editor: Ted Kent, Russell Schoengarth. Cast: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Eugene Pallette. 35mm, b/w, 94 min.
[Note: Prior to this screening members are invited to join JONO across the street from the Hammer for the acclaimed Napa Valley Grille restaurant's bargain happy hour in their bar with beers at $2 & $4, wines at $4 & $6, cocktails at $5 & $6 as well as delicious appetizers such as natural beef duo sliders, garlic fries, kale salad with grilled chicken, short rib tostadas and artisan cheeses for only $5-7 per plate.]
Admission: $10 available at the door or in advance online at the below weblink...
Parking: Parking map weblink shows location and proximity of below 3 parking lots...
HAMMER MUSEUM UNDERGROUND PARKING--$3 flat rate after 6pm or $3 for first 3 hours with validation then $1.50 for each additional 15 minutes.
GRANT PARKING at 1031 Broxton--$5 flat rate AFTER 5PM ($8 maximum)
WESTWOOD CENTER at 1100 Glendon--$7 flat rate AFTER 5PM (or up to $25 maximum if you park before 5pm)