Saturday, 26 May 2012

Retrospective: 5 Preston Sturges Films


The Great McGinty (US/1940)   ***

A homeless man and a crook have a political career.
A fast-paced, satirical comedy that signaled the arrival of an important Hollywood career that was to come. On its own, it’s terrific.
 
wd – Preston Sturges
ph – William C. Mellor
m – Frederick Hollander
ad – Hans Dreier, A. Earl Hedrick
ed – Hugh Bennett

p – Paul Jones

Cast:     Brian Donlevy, Akim Tamiroff, Muriel Angelus, Louis Jean Heydt, Arthur Hoyt


Christmas in July (US/1940)   **

A young clerk and his girlfriend win first prize in a big competition.
A film noticeably influenced by Clair, it is one of Sturges’ duller stories, but is kept alive by inventive touches and a gallery of splendid character comedians.
 
wd – Preston Sturges
ph – Victor Milner
ad – Hans Dreier, A. Earl Hedrick
ed – Ellsworth Hoagland

p – Paul Jones

Cast:     Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, Al Bridge, Alexander Carr, William Demarest,
             Ernest Truex


Sullivan’s Travels (US/1941)   ****

A Hollywood director tires of comedy and goes out to find real life.
Beautifully sustained melodrama that is half-tragedy/half-comedy and ranges from pratfalls to the chain-gang while never losing its marvelous poise.
 
wd – Preston Sturges
ph – John F. Seitz
 
ad – Hans Dreier, Earl Hedrick
m – Leo Shuken
ed – Stuart Gilmore

p – Paul Jones

Cast:     Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Porter 
             Hall, Byron Foulger, Eric Blore, Robert Grieg, Torben Meyer, Jimmy Conlin, Margaret Hayes


The Palm Beach Story (US/1942)   **

Feeling that, financially, their marriage was a mistake, the wife of an engineer flees to Florida to find herself a millionaire.
Although beloved by many, this absurd little romantic comedy only really comes alive when it focuses on its two stars. It does, however, contain some of its director’s most romantic touches, but the whole lacks a steady grasp.
 
wd – Preston Sturges
ph – Victor Milner
ad – Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte
m – Victor Young
ed – Stuart Gilmore

p – Paul Jones

Cast:     Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Rudy Vallee, Mary Astor, Sig Arno, Robert Dudley, Robert
             Warwick, Torben Meyer, Jimmy Conlin, William Demarest, Jack Norton, Robert Grieg


The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (US/1943)   ***

A girl in a small town becomes accidentally pregnant and chaos ensues.
Astonishing, fearless attack on the Hays Office by its maker; it is also one of the oddest of comedies. It seems to creepily invite its audience to get comfortable and then knock them out with a mockery of their values. It remains strange and exquisite to this day.
 
wd – Preston Sturges
ph – John F. Seitz
ad – Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte
m – Leo Shuken, Charles Bradshaw
ed – Stuart Gilmore

p – Preston Sturges

Cast:     Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, William Demarest, Diana Lynn, Porter Hall, Akim Tamiroff, 
             Brian Donlevy, Alan Bridge

No comments:

Post a Comment