Monday, August 29, 2011

Preston Sturges, 1898-1959

Today marks the birth anniversary of Preston Sturges, who had a glorious, if all too brief, career as a director from 1940-1945. I've recommended several of the glittering comedies he directed in those years, such as 1944's Hail the Conquering Hero, or The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. I love The Palm Beach Story, although some would argue that The Lady Eve is an even better comedy. (Personally, they're both great; I just happen to prefer The Palm Beach Story.)

Sturges' career ended prematurely because, like many in Hollywood, he liked to drink, something which apparently caused problems with the studio bosses -- I wonder why. But his career didn't begin as a director. As with many directors, he got his start in other behind the scenes capacities, notably as a writer. (Billy Wilder had a similar start to his Hollywood career.) Sturges worked on the screenplays of some two dozen movies before his directorial debut in The Great McGinty in 1940. Among the ones I've recommended before are Remember the Night, The Power and the Glory, and Easy Living.

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