On Preston Sturges

Having watched Preston Sturges’ great film, “The Lady Eve,” the other day, I went looking on the web for an site celebrating his career.  I found a site called prestonsturges.net, which calls itself the official Preston Sturges website.  The site contains a lot of interesting items, including an article about Sturges from the May 2010 “Vanity Fair” magazine.  In addition, there’s a series of pages devoted to excerpts from his movies.

In this era of ultra unsophisticated comedy, I find it remarkable that Sturges’ movies hold up so well.  They combine intelligent characters with clear motivation and great stories.  He also worked with terrific actors, such as Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck and Eric Blore.  He made 6 or 7 great films, but his filmography also shows his prolific career as a Hollywood screenwriter.  A book containing five of his screenplays, “Five Screenplays Preston Sturges,” contains very good commentary and history by Brian Henderson.  Sturges also wrote an autobiography, which doesn’t necessarily focus on his Hollywood successes.  He called it “Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges:  His Life in His Words,” and he died at a hotel while dictating it, leaving it unfinished.

According to imdb.com, Preston Sturges had this to say about making successful comedy movies:

A pretty girl is better than a plain one / A leg is better than an arm / A bedroom is better than a living room / An arrival is better that a departure / A birth is better than a death / A chase is better than a chat / A dog is better than a landscape / A kitten is better than a dog / A baby is better than a kitten / A kiss is better than a baby / A pratfall is better than anything.

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