Preston Sturges: Screenwriter
In the 1940s, Preston Sturges became Hollywood’s most heralded writer-director of comedies. In the 1930s, prior to attaining his auteur status, Sturges was a much sought-after screenwriter who imbued his scripts with witty, peppy dialogue and a frequently satirical investigation of the American psyche. This selection showcases the best Sturges screenplays from the Depression era including the William Wyler-directed romantic fantasy, The Good Fairy; two trenchant character studies of American industrialists, The Power and the Glory and Diamond Jim; and two gems directed by Mitchell Leisen, Easy Living and Remember the Night, a holiday classic.
- Sat., Nov. 3 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
While fending off the aggressive advances of a wealthy bachelor (Morgan), movie theater usherette Luisa Ginglebusher (Sullavan) finds a way to use the rich man’s money to help others, specifically, a poor lawyer (Marshall). Working for the first and only time with director Wyler, screenwriter Preston Sturges adapted a Ferenc Molnar play set in Budapest and the resulting film plays like the best movie Ernst Lubitsch never made!
- Sat., Nov. 10 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
In one of his first leading roles, Tracy plays a self-made railroad baron whose personal affections are torn between his devoted wife (played by silent star Moore) and loving mistress. The screenplay, by the renowned Preston Sturges, contains an innovative time structure that has led many critics to call this lyrical gem a major influence on Citizen Kane.
- Sat., Nov. 10 | 8:30 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Preston Sturges wrote the script for this excellent biopic on the life of millionaire industrialist (and prodigious eater) James Buchanan Brady, aka “Diamond Jim”. The film’s story is divided between Brady’s rise from poverty to affluence and his subsequent luckless love life.
- Sat., Nov. 17 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
In a dual role, 30s movie icon Sidney plays both a princess on a U.S. goodwill tour to raise money for the tiny kingdom of Taronia and the starving lookalike actress who takes over when her highness develops the mumps. Complications develop when the double falls for a newspaper publisher (Grant) whom she’s been hired to influence.
- Sat., Nov. 17 | 8:30 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The head (Morgan) of a tradition-bound Long Island family interferes with the love lives of his grown children, then attempts to set things right again. Credited with “Additional Dialogue,” this prototype for the screwball comedy marked Preston Sturges third Hollywood assignment.
- Sat., Dec. 1 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
In this exemplary, hilarious screwball comedy written by Preston Sturges, Arthur plays a working-class girl who gets a face-full of fur when a fed-up financier (Edward Arnold) throws his wife’s sable out the window. Soon, she finds romance in the arms of the rich man’s son (Ray Milland).
- Sat., Dec. 8 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Four years before they teamed on Double Indemnity, Stanwyck and MacMurray were paired as a chronic shoplifter and the prosecutor who takes her home for the holidays to keep her out of jail. Her encounter with the lawyer’s wholesome family, culminating on a moving and memorable New Year’s Eve, begins to change her perspective on a life of crime. Remember the Night marked Preston Sturges’ last credit as screenwriter before he became a writer-director on The Great McGinty, released the same year.