Poll

Your Favorite Preston Sturges Film Is:

The Great McGinty
0 (0%)
Christmas in July
1 (2.4%)
The Lady Eve
9 (21.4%)
Sullivan's Travels
16 (38.1%)
The Palm Beach Story
4 (9.5%)
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
3 (7.1%)
Hail the Conquering Hero
0 (0%)
The Sin of Harold Diddlebock
0 (0%)
Unfaithfully Yours
3 (7.1%)
The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend
0 (0%)
The French, They Are a Funny Race (aka. Les Carnets du Major Thompson)
0 (0%)
haven't seen any
5 (11.9%)
don't like any
1 (2.4%)
other
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 40

Author Topic: Sturges, Preston  (Read 4323 times)

Antares

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Re: Sturges, Preston - Directors Best Poll
« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2013, 09:59:11 PM »
2. Hail the Conquering Hero
3. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek


These two definitely need to be dark green
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1SO

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Re: Sturges, Preston - Directors Best Poll
« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2013, 11:54:46 PM »
Glad you said that. Conquering Hero is often considered lesser, but it has a great pace and Ella Raines. With Morgan's Creek, I know plenty of people with a limited tolerance for Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken, but I love them both.


I just watched The Great McGinty today. The script is more smart than funny, and I prefer funny. Also it stars Brian Donlevy, Muriel Angelus and Akim Tamiroff. (I had to look them up too.) They're fine, but there's a definite lack of star wattage from this bunch. A recommendation, but I could only focus on why it's good but not great.
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1SO

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Re: Sturges, Preston - Directors Best Poll
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2014, 08:25:44 AM »
The Sin of Harold Diddlebock
* * 1/2

An attempt to both idolize and revitalize Harold Lloyd, but something went wrong during production because Sturges style is oil to Lloyd's water. (This made me appreciate The Muppets even more, with Jason Segal both complimenting Kermit and the gang and making them relevant to a whole new audience.)

Lloyd's performance is fine, certainly the work of a legend, even if it's a minor work. Sturges has some of his great dialogue moments, and his entire stock company shows up to support, except notably William Demarest. Overall though, the project is like a cover band, not the genuine article. The comedy is a couple of steps removed from the source.

Two biggest missteps: 1.The female roles, a Sturges speciality, are non-existent and poorly cast. 2. The slapstick sequence at the climax. It's meant to recall Safety Last, with Lloyd clinging to life from a great height. That was silent and this is not, but there's nothing for Lloyd to do audibly in this sequence so he just screams and screams while others shout "hold on Mr. Diddlebock."

Not without interest, but more of an example of how, why and what happens when great artists get it wrong
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jascook

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Re: Sturges, Preston - Directors Best Poll
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2014, 07:41:20 PM »
Sullivan's Travels: 7/10
The Lady Eve: 6/10
« Last Edit: July 15, 2014, 01:56:43 AM by jascook »
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1SO

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Re: Sturges, Preston
« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2014, 01:52:48 PM »

The Lady Eve (1941)
"You don't know very much about girls. The best ones aren't as good as you probably think they are
and the bad ones aren't as bad. Not nearly as bad."


Might as well face the truth. The Lady Eve is a film of two halves. The first half, on board the ship, is perfect. I shy away from that type of hyperbole, but from the introduction of Barbara Stanwyck's Jean, plotting with her father 'Colonel' Harrington (Charles Coburn) while playfully dropping an apple on the head of Henry Fonda, there isn't a weak or false moment for the next 45 minutes. Romantic comedy at its finest, doled out in equal measures. No one overpowering the other. If the movie was this good the whole time, it would leap above Charade on my Top 50 and be rated 5-stars.


It's not that the 2nd half of the film is bad. There's still plenty of laughs, and the perfection of Barbara Stanwyck, who pulls off selling herself as another person without making any physical changes. Fonda proves her strategy by saying the lack of difference is exactly why she must be someone else. There's a lot less Charles Coburn, replaced by Eric Blore and Eugene Pallette. They're both fine character actors but not able to bring the same gravitas as Coburn. The script also goes broader. It doesn't completely abandon the verbal wit for the slapstick, but the elements create a different formula. The only reason why it stands out is because that first half is so perfect.

It can make the back half play like a let down or a mixed bag wheezing towards the finish line, though it's not at all bad and the final scene recaptures the magic of the beginning. There's also a final line that cements this as a better film than Some Like it Hot. (Bring on the disagreement. I'll say it again. The Lady Eve is better than Some Like it Hot.) My rating isn't a math equation. (5-star 1st half + 3-star 2nd half divided by 2.) Despite any let down, my overall opinion still puts this just outside my Top 100. A must see for anyone who likes great movies.
Rating: * * * *
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 11:11:47 PM by 1SO »
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Junior

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Re: Sturges, Preston - Directors Best Poll
« Reply #45 on: August 04, 2014, 12:45:36 AM »
It is really fun (and better than Some Like it Hot). I like the second half more than you, which is probably why it has appeared on my top 100 a few times. And yeah, that final scene is the shit. Anybody who says old movies don't have the life new movies have is a dolt.
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1SO

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Re: Sturges, Preston - Directors Best Poll
« Reply #46 on: December 31, 2014, 12:02:36 AM »
The Palm Beach Story
* * 1/2

My first viewing was June 2010 and my opinion hasn't changed. I blame my fuzzy memory on Sturges' script , which pulls a Love Actually with one set of characters. Beneath the rather generic title, the script combines a half dozen rom-com plots while deconstructing other conventions, such as opening with a madcap 'Happily Ever After'.

The story is all over the place, which is by design but it also creates a weary effect watching it. By using artificial plot devices, I don't care about the characters. I especially hate the main financial thread, where our two leads are just above poverty, but Claudette Colbert always looks amazing.

Joel McRea is poorly cast. His loony arguments come off as angry and mean. All the Sturges regulars are here, but there are too many annoying noisemakers. The hunters on the train, The Princess (Mary Astor). The characters are weak, even though the dialogue is strong.
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Totoro

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Re: Sturges, Preston - Directors Best Poll
« Reply #47 on: December 31, 2014, 02:51:12 AM »
I'd switch the scores on those two, 1SO. :P

I will say, however, that Stanwyck's performance in THE LADY EVE is in my top ten performances of all time. I don't care about the rest of the film. I hate the second half so much.

Joel McRea is amazing! His loony arguments are angry and mean, but like a little boy who isn't getting his way. Mary Astor is given such an underwritten role, but her performance is the best in the film and a career best as well. I love her.

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Re: Sturges, Preston
« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2016, 10:35:37 AM »
1. The Lady Eve (3.5)
2. Unfaithfully Yours (3)
3. Sullivan's Travels (2.5)
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1SO

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Re: Sturges, Preston
« Reply #49 on: January 07, 2018, 10:44:52 PM »
Updated Rankings, which solidifies Preston Sturges as a favorite.


The Great Moment (1944)
* * * - Good
Biopic about the invention of medical anesthesia starts as clunky as John Carter with a couple of title cards on the story and then a quick hit of scenes that again tell everything before finally going back and telling the story proper. (Poorly influenced by Citizen Kane?) Though based on real events, Sturges makes it a mostly humorous tale, which highlights one of his strengths. It's a funny film when he wants it to be and a serious one when he needs it to be. The ending aims to match Sullivan's Travels, but is overly sentimental and abrupt.


The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949)
* * * - Good
"I don't look any more like Hilda Swandumper than Swanda Hilldumper."

The movie that destroyed his career isn't as bad as all that, though it's definitely lesser Sturges. The story beats are roughly smacked together, changing plot every few scenes, but individual scenes are uproarious. The cast is amazing and really get to shine, except for Sterling Holloway and the actor playing his brother. Their dumb, unintelligible hillbilly routine wears thin instantly. Climaxes with a screwball western shootout and the title song is fun. If you're a fan of Sturges, this is worth it for his many moments of great dialogue.
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