Preston Sturges: The Rise And Fall Of An American Dreamer

A conventionally made but for the most part extremely well done documentary about the great writer-director and comic genius Preston Sturges (Sullivan’s Travels, The Palm Beach Story), whose life is as fascinating and remarkable as his meteoric career in Hollywood. Produced and directed by Kenneth Bowser, written by the able critic and journalist Todd McCarthy, and narrated by actor Fritz Weaver, the film draws on a wide range of materialsradio interviews, cameos by Sturges in other people’s pictures, interviews with relatives and associates, numerous still photographs, detailed biographical and production informationand does a very professional job of making this exposition concise and entertaining. Best of all are the clips from Sturges’s brilliant pictures, though one regrets the relatively short shrift given to Sturges’s remarkable stock company of bit actors and to his underrated last feature, The French They Are a Funny Race. If you’re a Sturges fan (and you should be), or are in the least bit curious about what this remarkable inventor-millionaire-restaurateur-playwright-filmmaker did to revolutionize the American sound comedy, you can’t afford to miss this. (JR)

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