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Between Flops: A Biography of Preston Sturges

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0595007820
ISBN-10: 0595007821
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Editorial Reviews

Review

" ...remains the definitive telling of Sturges' life." -- Variety, October 15, 1990

"A sobering picture of the sweat and disappointment that lie beneath the Hollywood hoopla." -- Newsweek

"A thorough, factual account of Sturges' complex life, a considerable feat of research and synthesis." -- Film Quarterly, Fall, 1983

"One of the most entertaining and engrossing film biographies I've encountered... " -- Judith Crist, May 4, 1982

From the Publisher

Writer-director Preston Sturges set a new standard for creativity in Hollywood. Three volumes of his screenplays have been published, and he is acknowledged as one of the grand masters of screen comedy. "Between Flops" was the first full-length biography of this great American humorist.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (September 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595007821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595007820
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #909,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Curtis is the author of "W.C. Fields: A Biography", which was awarded the Special Jury Prize by the Theatre Library Association and named one of the Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times. He is also the author of "Spencer Tracy: A Biography," "James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters," and "Between Flops," an acclaimed biography of writer-director Preston Sturges. He is married and lives in Brea, California.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Sturges' comedies, and I still watch several of his films on a yearly basis. I was curious to know what happened to Mr Sturges in the late 1940s that effectively saw one of the most commercially successful directors in Hollywood become unemployable within 5 years of his greatest hit.

I was familiar with the short bio of Sturges as the wunderkind who ran afoul of the powers that be, and suffered the consequences. However, the story is much more complex than that, and so we have a full-length biography providing a sympathetic, but balanced view of Sturges' career. The author gleans most of the information on Sturges childhood and early adult years from Sturges' own autobiography. But once we get into Sturges career years, Mr. Curtis exhibits his research skills, and provides a pretty extensive amount of corroborating material for most of the books facts and theses. Many of Sturges contemporaries were still alive at the time the book was being written which allowed the author to personally interview many of these people.

Sturges' career was an interesting mix of talent, bravado, egomania, eccentricity and luck; and despite the legend of the genius in theater and film, he had a pattern of brilliance interspersed with mediocrity( or worse) from his beginning as a self-made playwright. His move to Hollywood was motivated by failures in the theater. He had an early screenplay hit with the "Power and the Glory"(1933), but he was as much as a journeyman Hollywood writer ( albeit a well-paid one) as anything else through the 1930's. What he had in spades was an incredible confidence in his own material, and a desire to direct that material exactly as he had imagined it.
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Format: Paperback
An outstanding biography. Though concise, this is much better written than longer biographies of Preston Sturges. Curtis provides all the essentials, and does so in a well-structured and well-written style. Takes less time to read than the bios by Spoto and Jacobs, but the reader comes away with a much more vivid portrait of Sturges.
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Format: Paperback
James Curtis has again proven himself as an accomplished biographer in this study of Preston Sturges' life and art. Curtis examines Sturges' seemingly meteoric rise as a film director/screenwriter and his equally sudden fall from grace over a period of approximately 10 years. By 1950 Sturges was virtually unemployable in Hollywood.
Hard drinking and hard living may have been contributing factors in his reversal of fortune, but this book also looks at the madcap style of comedy which Sturges perfected and for which he is still known.
The beauty of this book is its lack of pretension and directness. Curtis manages to speak volumes without wordiness and/or empty paragraphs. This book is interesting, comprehensive, and involving. Amazingly, it resurrects a man who has been dead for over a half century and makes the subject seemingly new and fresh.
I enjoyed this book because I've always thought Preston Sturges was an interesting and talented fellow who has often been under rated and this book does much to restore his legend.
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If nothing else Preston Sturges had an incredibly interesting life. The fact that his films are some of my favorites, is what drew me to reading about him, and I was rewarded by this well written biography. Just the stories of his upbringing and relationship with his mother and her bohemian lifestyle were fascinating. The world was a much different place at the dawn of the 20th century than it is today. His meteoric rise and fall as a writer/director/mogul is equally as enraging, as are the stories surrounding the production of many of his films. Although very narcissistic he seemed like a pretty likable character, he was clearly a man ahead of his time in Hollywood. Sturges is definitely one of the more interesting characters from Hollywood's "Golden Age".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
During the first half of the 1940's,
Preston Sturges had Hollywood agog
with his genius for creatic comic
masterpieces. He was the first of
the now-familiar breed of writer-
director, and built up a talented
ensemble company to give life to
his dynamic scripts. Yet, despite
his amazing rise, his swift downfall
was equally astounding, and by the
1950's, he was all but finished. This
excellent work depicts all aspects of
Sturges' fascinating life in great
detail and in excellent prose. It is
highly recommended for all those who
are spellbound by the triumphs and
tragedies of the creative life.
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