The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 22-28

04/22/2015 9:09 AM |

Joel McCrea and Victor Potel in Preston Sturges’ THE GREAT MOM

The Great Moment (1944)
Directed by Preston Sturges
A tragicomic bio in which the unacknowledged father of modern anaesthesia (Joel McCrea) is rewarded for his efforts in service to humanity with financial ruin and national disrepute, The Great Moment was also a bitter personal disappointment for Sturges—first recut by the studio against his wishes, it then became his first box-office failure in eight outings as a director. Nevertheless (or unsurprisingly), it may be his most characteristic and revealing work: bluntly mixing broad slapstick with earnest drama, displaying an ingrained cynicism toward social institutions but a deep faith in individual conscience, it is very much of a piece with the madcap romps that preceded it. Eli Goldfarb (Apr 22, 2:10pm, 5:30pm, 8:50pm at Film Forum’s “Strictly Sturges,” in a double feature with The Great McGinty)