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The genius of Leo McCarey at Locarno71

A scene by the film "Big Business" with Laurel & Hardy

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The “father of Laurel & Hardy” will be at the center of the major Retrospective tribute paid by Locarno71 to the director, screenwriter and triple Oscar winner Leo McCarey (1898 – 1969).

McCarey worked with producer Hal Roach and together they made a vital contribution to the golden age of American silent comedy, launching the successful careers of Charley Chase and Max Davidson, as well as the unforgettable duo of Laurel & Hardy. Later McCarey was instrumental in creating the inimitable star persona of Cary Grant in The Awful Truth (1937) and was also picked by the Marx Brothers to direct their masterpiece Duck Soup (1933).

In the late Thirties and post-war period, McCarey turned increasingly to drama, in movies that ranged in scope from romantic comedy to the religious life. In the latter part of his career McCarey worked with stars ­of the caliber of Ingrid Bergman and Paul Newman, Bing Crosby and Deborah Kerr, as well as rejoining forces with Cary Grant in such memorable pictures as Good Sam (1948) and An Affair to Remember (1957). For Carlo Chatrian, this Retrospective will also be “...a tribute to a period of our own childhood which we all lived through, but perhaps have sometimes since forgotten: laughing with Laurel & Hardy does not just offer the sweet taste of nostalgia, but will also remind us of the visionary and beneficial power that comedy has always possessed.”

Curated by Roberto Turigliatto, the Retrospective will be organized in partnership with the Cinémathèque suisse and the Cinémathèque française, with additional input from the Pordenone Silent Film Festival. It will be accompanied by a volume in English and French to be published by Capricci.

After the Locarno Festival the project will also travel to other major institutions in Switzerland and worldwide, including, on the domestic circuit, the Cinémathèque suisse, Filmpodium in Zurich, Kino REX in Berne and Les Cinémas du Grütli in Geneva; in Italy, the National Cinema Museum in Turin and the I Milleocchi Festival in Trieste; lastly, in France, the Cinémathèque française.

 

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