Preston Sturges S/D

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besides for the obviously classic, classic, classic "the lady eve" and "sullivan's travels" what's worth seeking out? there's a retrospective in chicago next month and i want to know what i should make every effort to catch.

a spectator bird (a spectator bird), Friday, 19 March 2004 15:15 (fifteen years ago) link

Search: Unfaithfully Yours, Palm Beach Story, Hail the Conquering Hero, um the Miracle of Morgan's Creek.

borderline: Imitation of Life (interesting sociologically; still hard to take)

Belgian Rofflez (Adrian Langston), Friday, 19 March 2004 19:58 (fifteen years ago) link

Wow, I'm in the middle of a Sturges video binge at the mo. Actually, I saw my first so-so one last night, The Great McGinty -- otherwise, mostly classic, esp. Sullivan's Travels. Palm Beach is also pretty good.

IMHO, the second half of Lady Eve is a bit of a disaster compared to the first part. Actually, with the exception of Sullivan, all I've seen have been the curate's egg.

Chuck Tatum (Chuck Tatum), Friday, 19 March 2004 21:48 (fifteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
I loved The Great McGinty! Some really funny moments, and great dialogue writing. I don't think I've ever seen something so refreshingly cynical about American politics that made me laugh so much.

Robomonkey (patronus), Thursday, 8 April 2004 21:18 (fifteen years ago) link

four weeks pass...
I've only seen 'Palm Beach Story', but it was a delight; Rudy Vallee's comedic timing was sublime, and I liked the other main actor, constantly exasperated, implicated in an insane sequence of events. The ale and quail society stuff on the train was possibly the most uproariously amusing part; a lunacy like The Marx Brothers. Was Claudette Colbert the lead actress, again? Very droll performance there.

I *need to see more* of his films, but the above is definitely a 'search' for anyone.

Tom May (Tom May), Thursday, 6 May 2004 02:48 (fifteen years ago) link

My fave Sturges (that I've seen) after TLE and ST:

1. Miracle At Morgan's Creek - This is such a splendid, raunchy comedy with a great satirical bent. American society is lampooned repeatedly.

2. The Palm Beach Story - Anothere taboo topic. This sort of reminds me of "Some Like It Hot". I'm not entirely sure why. It might be the rich tycoon on a yacht. There are times (like the end) when you catch yourself saying, "No, they can't do this in a movie." Common sense is betrayed time and time again.

3. Hail The Conquering Hero - This definitely has moments of brilliance, but is definitely less cynical than "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek". It has a great campaign song, though, which will probably get stuck in your head. One of the joys of Sturges features is picking out all of the recurring stock players in each one. All three of these probably share ten of the same actors.

The Narwhal, Thursday, 6 May 2004 03:51 (fifteen years ago) link

three years pass...

My grandma was born in 1928..Growing up, she went to the movies frequently. Right now, she seems to like romantic comedies (especially those Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks ones). Will she like any of these? If so, which ones?

Tape Store, Tuesday, 11 December 2007 01:19 (eleven years ago) link

"You've Got Mail. Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, a very likable Greg Kinnear... you think you're better than it, like 'Ooh this movie's going to suck' but then you watch it and it becomes a part of you."

That one guy that hit it and quit it, Tuesday, 11 December 2007 15:19 (eleven years ago) link

TS, she had better. If Grandma doesn't mind unwanted pregnancy, start w/ Morgan's Crrek. Otherwise, The LAdy Eve or The Palm Beach Story.

Dr Morbius, Tuesday, 11 December 2007 15:38 (eleven years ago) link

Thanks, Dr. M. I was thinking about Morgan's Creek...I need some sort of litmus test, though

I'll tell her a joke about impregnating some girl; if she laughs, Miracle of Morgan's Creek, it is!

Tape Store, Tuesday, 11 December 2007 21:52 (eleven years ago) link

well, basically search everything he ever did; I'm not crazy about everything he ever wrote, but I still watch the stuff which doesn't resonate with me just to watch the Preston Sturges Players in action and to marvel at the verbal prowess on display.

aside from that, The Great Moment is being slept on, both as a fascinating stylistic outlier for Sturges (it's a docudrama about the inventor of anesthesia, so it's not a gut-busting laff-a-thon like his straight-up comedies, although it still moves at breakneck speed) and as an opportunity for forensic cinematic analysis (the studio was understandably wary about the commercial prospects for a docudrama about such an obscure and disputed figure, so they sat on it until after he bolted for Fox, at which point they cut it to shit and released it).

honestly though, just get everything he ever directed - he's the Steely Dan of filmmakers in terms of quality output ratio. (I know there's a box set of barebones DVDs which covers everything he directed up to Unfaithfully Yours - I think mine cost like $45 second-hand from Amazon, which is a preposterously good bargain for what you get.) I'd extend this to the movies he wrote, too, but a lot of them are inexplicably hard to find - I spent years trying to find Diamond Jim only to resign myself to disappointment, and it gets cited as an influence on Citizen fucking Kane!

jamescobo, Thursday, 13 December 2007 18:46 (eleven years ago) link

It's The Power and the Glory that gets cited as a precursor to Kane.

Dr Morbius, Thursday, 13 December 2007 19:51 (eleven years ago) link

ah nuts, that's right - of course, I could never find that one either.

jamescobo, Thursday, 13 December 2007 22:19 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

Jim Ridley celebrates Wm Demarest!

http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-12-24/film/essential-sturges-fetes-the-director-and-his-powder-keg-muse/

Dr Morbius, Wednesday, 24 December 2008 16:28 (ten years ago) link

of course the VV runs a pic of someone who IS NOT DEMAREST!

Dr Morbius, Wednesday, 24 December 2008 16:34 (ten years ago) link

The building superintendent looks like Demarest. I always want to say to him, "Lemme ask ya a hypothermical question..."

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 24 December 2008 16:47 (ten years ago) link

two years pass...

"I feel like Charlie Sheen is acting like a character in a Preston Sturges movie who HAS to convince the public he's crazy so he can get out of his hit show and marry his beautiful gal or something." -- a friend of mine gives a worthy observation about the Sheen mess.

Cunga, Friday, 4 March 2011 22:56 (eight years ago) link

two years pass...

I think Demarest's Muggsy in The Lady Eve is his second-greatest character. "I knew a fella who married the same dame 3 times, then turned around and married her aunt!"

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Friday, 27 December 2013 15:01 (five years ago) link

Second? Which one is better?

Can One Hear the Shape of a Ron Decline Bottle? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 27 December 2013 15:15 (five years ago) link

Mr. Kockenlocker? It's a tough call.

Can One Hear the Shape of a Ron Decline Bottle? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 27 December 2013 15:19 (five years ago) link

five years pass...

I learned (or relearned) from the NYT obit of Norman Gimbel (songwriter of "Killing Me Softly" and TV themes) that he wrote lyrics for a Broadway musical version of Hail the Conquering Hero, starring Tom Poston in the Bracken role. Closed after 8 perfs in 1961. Book by Larry Gelbart!

https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-production/the-conquering-hero-2286

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 22:44 (ten months ago) link

(Lionel Stander for Demarest)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 22:45 (ten months ago) link

Still waiting for answer from five years ago

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 23:03 (ten months ago) link

of course Officer K

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 3 January 2019 03:40 (ten months ago) link

Ya get me?

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 3 January 2019 03:41 (ten months ago) link

six months pass...

saw Palm Beach Story the same day as In Which We Serve (the Noel Coward Coward/David Lean film). both were 1942, and as American and British films from that year they couldn't have been more different

Dan S, Thursday, 1 August 2019 00:18 (three months ago) link

Wonder if Preston and his mom knew Noel Coward socially.

U or Astro-U? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 1 August 2019 00:43 (three months ago) link


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