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Intrepid Laughter

Preston Sturges and the Movies

Andrew Dickos

Publication Year: 2014

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.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Series: Screen Classics


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

When a Hollywood phenomenon like Preston Sturges occurs, the desire to analyze it, to uncover the intrinsic meaning lying at its core, may kill the brilliance that makes it unique. The fact is, Preston Sturges is so much more than the sum of his parts- -screenwriter, slapstick artist, cynic, wit, satirist...


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pp. xi-xii


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pp. xiii-xvi

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1. The Most Bizarre and Marvelous Scenario: Flashbacks on the Life and Career of Preston Sturges

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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...

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2. The Screenwriting of Preston Sturges

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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...

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3. Written and Directed by Preston

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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...

Notes and References

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pp. 133-140

Annotated Bibliography

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pp. 141-145


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pp. 146-162


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pp. 163-169

About the Author

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pp. 170-171

E-ISBN-13: 9780813141961
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813141947

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Screen Classics
Series Editor Byline: Patrick McGilligan See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 868580557
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Intrepid Laughter