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1995 San Sebastian Film Festival Buzz
Retrospective: Gregory La Cava

The film director Gregory La Cava (1892-1952) will be remembered during the next San Sebastian International Film Festival with a cycle on his splendid filmography; and the publication of a commemorative book, published in collaboration with the Spanish Film Archive.

One of the great pioneers of animation cinema, he later became one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood.

"La Cava was way ahead of his time, a forerunner of the "new wave', It's a pity he didn't live long enough to patent it" (Frank Capra).

"He had a real gift for writing and directing. He had humor, speed, imagination...and magic" (Katherine Hepburn).

"Gregory La Cava is the answer to an actress' prayer" (Carol Lombard).

"You can ask Gregory La Cava how he did such-and-such a gag, and he'll show you. But no-one has his same daring to actually go ahead and do it" (Orson WeIles). "He has the best equipped head for comedy in the whole of Hollywood" (W.C. Fields). Gregory La Cava preferred to define himself as "a rebel atavistic, a tough individualist and an out-and-out nonconformist". In permanent conflict with the Hollywood system his colleagues nicknamed him "Mr. No" because of his outspokenness with the big studios, . He prided himself on being able to make films without a screenplay, reinvented scenes and dialogues on set, and continually improvised with the actors. "A film", he would say" "must mold itself day by day to adapt itself to the characters taking part in it". At the height of his splendor, from 1935 to 1941, he was compared to Lubitsch, Capra or Hawks. His work and talent have been left to oblivion for too long, His genres were outrageous comedy and critical melodrama. Outstanding among his best films are-, "Running Wild', 1927; "Gabriel Over the White House", l933: "The Affairs of Cellini", 1934-, "She Married Her Boss", 1935: "My Man Godfrey", 1936; "Stage Door', 1937; "The Girl of the Fifth Avenue", 1939; "Private Worlds", 1940; Unfinished Business", 1941; "Lady in a Jam", 1941... Gregory La Cava is one of the most prestigious filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age. Nevertheless, his work is little known and has scarcely been studied. Several of his silent films disappeared, and many of them were forgotten. The, recent restoration of some of these works has renewed his image as an exceptional director, The cycle offered by the San Sebastian Film Festival will give spectators the chance to get to know every one of his experiences, from those which he made in the field of animation to his famous and undisputed Masterpieces.

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