Guess who's currently in Colorado? I am, I am!
Anyway, this was supposed to be a scheduled blog, so hopefully that's worked out. If not...well, I suppose it doesn't matter if not, as you won't be reading this. Anyway...
He's the guy W. C. Fields said had the "best mind for comedy in Hollywood."
Ginger Rogers called him "masterful" and Pandro Bergman said he "amazed me."
La Cava with Irene Dunne.
Despite having over 150 directing credits (and a series of hits including My Man Godfrey, 5th Avenue Girl, The Half Naked Truth, Primrose Path, and Unfinished Business), La Cava's name is not as instantly recognizable as one might think.
On the set of Stage Door, with Adolphe Menjou, Ginger, and Kate.
In the 1950s, with the release of Sarris' American Cinema rankings, movies focusing on male-centered worlds (westerns, film noir, and action pictures of Hawks and Ford in particular) gained popularity, with many film critics and theorists revisiting and reanalyzing them. Perhaps one reason La Cava has mainly been ignored by those film historians is the fact that he was primarily a "woman's director," and the majority of his later films portray women as the heart of the film, with men acting more or less as accessories.
Carole Lombard and William Powell in La Cava's My Man Godfrey.
I'd never really heard of him until two or three years ago, when I watched Stage Door. However, I'm finding out he was a lot more influential than his fame (or lack of it, rather) would have one believe.
Beginning in 1916 with animated shorts, La Cava moved on to live action in the early twenties. During the silent era, La Cava worked beside stars such as Bebe Daniels, W.C. Fields, Richard Dix, and Esther Ralston.
In his most productive decade, the thirties, La Cava was employed at some time by nearly all the major studios, directing the likes of Claudette Colbert, Irene Dunne, Joel McCrea, William Powell, and Ginger Rogers (three times, isn't it marvelous?).
Gregory La Cava directing Walter Huston, Franchot Tone, and Karen Morley in Gabriel Over the White House.
Even David O. Selznick, Hollywood's resident humbug, said of La Cava: "Ninety-nine directors out of a hundred are worthless as producers. However, there are exceptions... I believe that La Cava might be an exception."