Tonight Thru End of Month: Leo McCarey at MOMA


Exciting things afoot for comedy fans in NYC. My buddy Steve Massa has helped organized a series of screenings at MOMA of films by the great comic auteur Leo McCarey, starting tonight with Laurel and Hardy’s 1927 masterpiece The Battle of the Century, which contains (in my opinion) one of the few comedy pie fights in cinema history worth watching. Tonight’s screening will include love music by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks; tomorrow the music will be the ubiquitous Ben Model.

Also in the series over the next couple of weeks: pre-code obscurity Part Time Wife (1930) with Leila Hyams; the neglected classic Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) with Hyams, Charles Laughton, Charlie Ruggles, Mary Boland, Zasu Pitts and Dell Henderson; Harold Lloyd’s The Milky Way (1936); a program of Charley Chase shorts with music by Model; the Bing Crosby perennial Going My Way (1944) and its sequel The Bells of St Marys (1945); another Laurel and Hardy program with music by Model; the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup (1933); screwball classic The Awful Truth (1937) with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne; a program of Hal Roach sound comedy shorts; a program of films starring Jewish silent comedian Max Davidson (with music by Model); the Cold War satire (his last comedy) Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys (1958) starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Joan Collins; and several others!

What do I recommend? Well, unless you’re a cinematic naif and haven’t seen anything, don’t be a turkey and see something you have already seen, can ALWAYS see like The Awful Truth or Duck Soup or the Crosby pictures. My preference (which probably won’t surprise you) would be to steer you towards the early silent, slapstick work if you haven’t seen it. If nothing else the Laurel and Hardy and Charley Chase. I won’t consider you a properly educated human being until you do!

For the full schedule and ticket info go here. 

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