Madcap: The Life of Preston Sturges

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9780316807265: Madcap: The Life of Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges (1898-1959) was the first writer-turned-director in the history of talking movies, and one of the greatest film directors of any variety. He is best known for the comedies he made in the early 1940s. His films are distinguished by a zany wit and brilliant, madcap dialogue.

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From Publishers Weekly:

One of our most influential filmmakers, Sturges (1898-1959) paved the way for the likes of Orson Welles, Billy Wilder and Woody Allen, among others, not only in terms of cinematic style but as a screenwriter who earned the privilege of sole control over his projects. The first writer in cinema to direct his own work ( The Great McGinty , which earned Sturgis an Academy Award for best original screenplay in 1941), he also added the title of producer to his credits, most notably for his comedic masterpiece, Sullivan's Travels (1942), a quasi-autobiographical story about the need for laughter in the midst of adversity, considered by cultists to be one of the best films ever made. Spoto ( The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock ) has done his homework; the detail-filled book makes a major contribution to the study of American film. Insight and narrative flair, however, are where this effort falls short. Sturges, who was raised in Europe by an eccentric mother (and her even more flamboyant friend, Isadora Duncan), led a life more emotionally complicated and colorful than most characters found in fiction. Although Spoto does justice to his subject's accomplishments, the definitive biography of the patron saint of screenwriters has yet to be written. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

It was a short but brilliant career, that of writer-director Preston Sturges. His legacy includes six comedy classics-- The Great McGinty, The Lady Eve, The Palm Beach Story, Sullivan's Travels, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek , and Hail the Conquering Hero --all written and directed in a five-year span (1940-44). Spoto, the author of books on Alfred Hitchcock, Tennesee Williams, and Marlene Dietrich, is best at describing Sturges's youthful years, particularly his mother's colorful escapades as an associate of Isadora Duncan and a much-married denizen of the Continent. Once Sturges's Hollywood career kicks into high gear, the book goes a little flat. But this is still a worthy addition to most film collections.
- Thomas Wiener, for merly with "American Film," Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Little, Brown and Company, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Photographs (illustrator). 1st Edition. The life of Preston Sturges is not only the story of the man for whom a new category of Academy award was invented (Best Original Screenplay) ¿ this is also the hilarious and moving account of a man who has been often wrongly called a tragic figure, a man whose courage, humor and intelligence made him unique in the history of popular entertainment, and whose achievements continue to inspire filmmakers more than 30 years after his death. Bookseller Inventory # 000690

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