- Have been reading this lovely old tome: Who the Devil Made It by Peter Bogdanovich
This book continues to be a great inspiration, and I luckily nerdily owned so many Charley Chase DVD sets that I was able to pop in one of the short silent films that Leo McCarey directed and watch it immediately after reading his interview. So that was really fun, and it was quite a fun Charley Chase comedy, although seemed only half survives of the 2-reeler. It was "All Wet" (1924) (thus my title above). Oh, darn, as I was checking that date on IMDB, it claims Janet Gaynor is an extra in it! Bollocks, have to go back and watch it again..! It was a fun movie despite only half surviving, with a really great gag with a car getting pulled further into the mud than you can imagine. It was not McCarey's first film directing. He directed some days on sets of Tod Browning features, but his own fully directed first feature (at least according to Bogdanovich's book) was Society Secrets from 1921, and I do not know if that one survives.
And embarrassing admission time now, all the most famous Leo McCarey movies, I haven't seen them! Really not sure how I missed so many films by a fellow Irishman! Maybe because he was born in California, so can't really trust that type of Irishman, can ya? My sad report is I had seen only Duck Soup and The Milky Way, plus the Charley Chase silent shorts and many Laurel & Hardy silents that he either directed or more often was supervisor (with frequent story origination or collaboration via oversight). So I feel well-steeped in his comic sensibilities from those Laurel & Hardy and Charley Chase films, but I guess it's time to watch his most acclaimed films that you've probably all already seen, but here are some of the bigger hits if you didn't know: The Awful Truth (1937), Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), Going My Way (1944), The Bells of St. Mary's (1944), An Affair to Remember (1957), Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), and Love Affair (1939).
But mainly just thanks to Peter Bogdanovich for writing such a great book and taking the time to interview all these directors, even when they were coughing on their deathbeds, as Leo McCarey was-- he practically helped kill him?! It's a pretty amazing thing when a book can inspire you to rush right out and try to watch the person's movies.