Trained as a physicist, Sandrich began his career as a prop man in 1922 and five years later emerged as a director of comedy shorts, notably Lupino Lane two-reelers. Sandrich directed his first feature in 1928, but lacking enough experience to handle the technical demands accompanying the advent of sound, he was again consigned to shorts; his highly-regarded, Oscar-winning musical short, "So This is Harris" (1932), which was very playful with both its editing and its soundtrack, enabled him to make another go at features, which he continued to turn out until 1944.
Sandrich's best-known films are the five entries in the memorable Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers series of musicals he made at RKO in the 30s, including "The Gay Divorcee" (1934), "Top Hat" (1935)", "Follow the Fleet" (1936), "Shall We Dance" (1937) and "Carefree" (1938). Later Sandrich moved to Paramount, where he helmed several comedy vehicles for Jack Benny but continued to make musicals as well. He also started to produce as well as direct his own films; his best-known work from this period was the Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire music-fest, "Holiday Inn" (1942).