Peter Bogdanovich‘s new film She’s Funny That Way stars Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, and Jennifer Aniston, and harkens back to the screwball comedies of yesterday. For his Five Favorite Films, Bogdanovich chose movies along the same kooky, romantic lines that he enjoys watching over and over.
Twentieth Century is a show business theater story, and Barrymore gives an extraordinary performance. Orson Welles told me that whenever he and Larry Olivier did a comedy, after seeing it, that he and Larry both were just doing Barrymore in the 20th Century.
The Awful Truth is a great screwball comedy. It’s what they call a remarriage comedy. They split up for a stupid reason, and then the rest of the picture is how they get back together. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, and Leo McCarey was one of the great comedy directors. He’s the one who put Laurel and Hardy together, among other great things he did.
I always think of Renoir whenever I make any picture, and he made a comedy about show business called French Cancan. It’s set around the turn of the century, and Jean Gabin plays the guy who invented the Moulin Rouge night club. He did it by championing the return of the can can, and it’s a glorious film. Gabin was great and Renoir is my favorite director. It’s a show business story, and so is ours.
The Lady Eve, written and directed by Preston Sturgess, with Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck. That’s a great movie.
This is a wild farce, it’s shocking that he got away with it in the middle of World War II. Betty Hutton gets drunk saying goodbye to soldiers going off to fight, and she gets knocked up. You never know what happened but everyone says let’s get married, because she’s pregnant. She has no idea who the father is. How he got away with this in the middle of the production code in the middle of World War II, I have no idea. Eddie Bracken plays a guy who’s so madly in love with her, he agrees to be the father. It’s a great comedy, really a farce.