Intrepid Laughter

Intrepid Laughter: Preston Sturges and the Movies

ANDREW DICKOS
Series: Screen Classics
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hjz9v
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  • Book Info
    Intrepid Laughter
    Book Description:

    Throughout his career, Preston Sturges (1898--1959) was known for bringing sophistication and wit to the genre of comedy, establishing himself as one of the most valuable writer-directors in 1940s Hollywood. Today, more than fifty years after they were originally produced, his films have lost little of their edge and remain extremely popular. Intrepid Laughter is an essential guide to the life and work of this luminary of the stage and screen, following Sturges from his unusual childhood, to his early success as a Broadway playwright, to his whirlwind career in Hollywood.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4196-1
    Subjects: Performing Arts, History, Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
    A. D.
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. CHRONOLOGY
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. 1 THE MOST BIZARRE AND MARVELOUS SCENARIO: FLASHBACKS ON THE LIFE AND CAREER OF PRESTON STURGES
    (pp. 1-54)

    A kaleidoscopic whirl of extraordinary people and improbable events clearly does not represent most lives. Of the few people with the vision and energy to command greatness, most end up accepting less, settling for life as a project of trying to find pleasure, resignedly, in the ordinary. They have not found themselves in the right place at the right time or expended their imaginative energy to realize the concrete act. Or, they simply have not been blessed. Preston Sturges lived a life that could fuel a score of pictures with wonderful story lines and complications to rival even his own...

  7. 2 THE SCREENWRITING OF PRESTON STURGES
    (pp. 55-78)

    The touchstone of Preston Sturges’ screenwriting art lies in the respect paid to the play and density of verbal language. The criteria for judging the success of most any Sturges screenplay invariably include the standard of eloquence found in the twist of a phrase, a phonic rhythm, a defiant quickness, and, often, a speed that characterizes the seeming effortlessness of “talk.” Manny Farber once wrote that this talk turned Sturges’ pictures “into a kind of open forum where everyone down to the cross-eyed bit player gets a chance to tryout his oratorical ability.”² This general perception of Sturgesian language is...

  8. 3 WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY PRESTON STURGES
    (pp. 79-132)

    The Great McGinty opens with a scene set in a seedy and hostile bar somewhere in a Latin American banana republic. This opening scene sets the tone of Sturges’ film in two ways. First, the suggestion of seedy refuge mixed with failure tells us that Sturges is pessimistic about the accredited value of participating in the building of a good, decent brotherhood. And second, this opening scene, with its darker photography creating the visual scape for the entire film, shows us that even in failure, even in exile in a Latin American banana republic, one may not be any worse...

  9. NOTES AND REFERENCES
    (pp. 133-140)
  10. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 141-145)
  11. FILMOGRAPHY
    (pp. 146-162)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 163-169)
  13. About the Author
    (pp. 170-171)