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Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection (Sullivan's Travels/The Lady Eve/The Palm Beach Story/Hail the Conquering Hero/The Great McGinty/Christmas in July/The Great Moment) (1940)

Preston Sturges , June Preston  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection (Sullivan's Travels/The Lady Eve/The Palm Beach Story/Hail the Conquering Hero/The Great McGinty/Christmas in July/The Great Moment) + Miracle of Morgan's Creek + Unfaithfully Yours (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Preston Sturges, June Preston
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 606 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HT3Q2S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,191 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection (Sullivan's Travels/The Lady Eve/The Palm Beach Story/Hail the Conquering Hero/The Great McGinty/Christmas in July/The Great Moment)" on IMDb

Special Features

Disc 1 - The Great McGinty:
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Disc 2 - Christmas in July:
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Disc 3 - The Lady Eve:
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Disc 4 - Sullivan's Travels:
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Disc 5 - The Palm Beach Story:
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Disc 6 - The Great Moment:
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    Product Description

    Preston Sturges was the first prominent screenwriter to direct his own script. He went on an unparalleled creative streak that brought to the screen some of the most beloved films of all time. This collection pays tribute to seven of his finest and funniest films, starring cinema's most illustrious screen stars. The Great McGinty An opportunist (Brian Donlevy), turns corruption into a promising political career, but struggles to stay on top when he tries to go honest. Christmas in July Hope springs eternal when an office clerk (Dick Powell) mistakenly believes he's won a coffee slogan challenge and spends the "prize money". The Lady Eve It's the ultimate battle of the sexes when a wealthy heir (Henry Fonda) falls (literally!) for a con woman (Barbara Stanwyck) with a shady past. Sullivan's Travels In this comedic masterpiece, a wealthy director (Joel McCrea) wants to find "real" people for his next great film (co-starring Veronica Lake). The Palm Beach Story Money makes the world go 'round, or so Gerry (Claudette Colbert) believes when she divorces her struggling husband (McCrea) and supports him by marrying a millionaire. The Great Moment This stirring biopic follows the fascinating life of W.T.G. Morton (McCrea), a 19th century dentist who successfully develops the first anesthesia. Hail the Conquering Hero A quirky soldier (Eddie Bracken) gets an unexpected homecoming when a group of uproarious Marines decide to "make" a hero out of the comic misfit.

    Amazon.com

    Preston Sturges was a 20th-century Renaissance man who, at Paramount Pictures between 1940 and 1943, wrote and directed eight original movies unlike anything before or since. All but one were high-energy, brilliantly detailed, and very, very funny comedies that became instant classics. No one ever dreamed up a more colorful assortment of characters, wrote more lovingly textured dialogue for them, or sent them hurtling and skittering through more outrageous situations, with undertones often darker than most dramatic films. Seven of these pictures comprise this boxed set; The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is missing because it remained with Paramount when most of the studio's pre-1949 inventory was acquired decades ago by Universal/MCA. (It's on DVD via Paramount.) The omission of a single film from the cycle--and one of the very best--is regrettable, but there's plenty here to relish.

    Sturges was already an established playwright and screenwriter when he cajoled Paramount into letting him direct one of his own scripts. The Great McGinty won him the 1940 Oscar for best original screenplay, the raffish tale of a bum (Brian Donlevy) who ingratiates himself with the political machine of a heartland city by successfully voting 37 times in one election, then rises to become "reform" candidate for governor. The film is a glowing example of Sturges's penchant for filling the foregrounds as well as backgrounds of his movies with flavorful, mostly nameless character actors and according each of them star status, if only for one world-class line of dialogue. They and Sturges stood by one another throughout the cycle, and the result was a richness variously--and aptly--likened to Dickens or Bruegel.

    Christmas in July (1940) followed, a sardonic but big-hearted comedy about a young working-class couple (Dick Powell and Ellen Drew) duped into believing one topsy-turvy afternoon that they've struck it rich by winning a slogan contest. Then came the film widely regarded as Sturges's most side-splitting, The Lady Eve (1941). Barbara Stanwyck is merciless--and breathtakingly sexy--as a second-generation con artist who targets brewing heir Henry Fonda, a clueless amateur herpetologist who has spent entirely too much time up the Amazon.

    Then again, there are people who name Sullivan's Travels (1942) among the best films ever made. Joel McCrea plays a successful director of Hollywood comedies who decides he must make a social-consciousness allegory, O Brother Where Art Thou? His exploratory road trip disguised as a hobo, with starlet Veronica Lake for companionship, combines Hollywood satire with starkest drama verging on horror. The film is utterly unique and shatteringly powerful.

    The Palm Beach Story (1942), a return to screwball comedy, dances a goofy tarantella on the American obsession with wealth. There are a couple of dozen millionaires at large in this movie, every one of them insane: Robert Dudley as a comic deus-ex-machina ("the Wienie King"), a railroad club car filled with Sturges stalwarts ("the Ale and Quail Club"), and '20s crooner Rudy Vallee ascending to character-actor immortality as the devoted suitor of Joel McCrea's runaway wife, Claudette Colbert. At that point (still in 1942) Sturges embarked on his most tortuous project, Triumph over Pain, the fact-based chronicle of the Boston dentist (Joel McCrea) who discovered the use of ether for anaesthesia. Instead of being canonized, he was destroyed. Sturges, whose 1933 screenplay The Power and the Glory had anticipated the fractured time scheme of Citizen Kane by eight years, tried for even more complicated narrative-in-reverse here--and also studded the tragic story with startling bursts of slapstick humor. Paramount recut the film drastically and changed the title to The Great Moment; the fitful results would not be released till two years later.

    Meanwhile, Sturges scored a pair of best-screenplay Oscar nominations in 1944 for The Miracle of Morgan's Creek and Hail the Conquering Hero, two small-town comedies starring Eddie Bracken as a nebbish ill-made for heroism yet obliged by wartime circumstance to rise to the occasion. Each of these films is a comic masterpiece, each asking discomfiting questions about cherished, arguably destructive American values, yet finding its own cockeyed way to affirmation. Miracle isn't available here, but Hail the Conquering Hero casts a lingering spell, beyond satire. To quote its last line: "You got no idea." --Richard T. Jameson


    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT REMASTERING OF STURGES CLASSICS November 27, 2006
    Format:DVD
    With this collection and the addition of "The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek, which was released on DVD by Paramount last year, we have as complete a collection as we can expect from Universal. The mastering of "The Palm Beach Story" here rectifies a very disappointing job from Universal last year, and the new-to-DVD issues of "The Great McGinty," "The Great Moment," "Christmas In July," and the film Sturges thought was his true masterpiece, "Hail The Conquering Hero," make this release as good as it gets. "Unfaithfully Yours," a Fox picture, has been released on Criterion, and "Sullivan's Travels" and "The Lady Eve" are also Criterion issues. I compared this new remastering of "Sullivan" with the Criterion, and despite a slightly to moderately better transfer--especially the soundtrack--from Criterion, Universal has held its own, quite an undertaking by itself against what has always been superior work by Criterion.

    So to complete your collection, be sure to purchase "Miracle," because it's the finest transfer of any of Sturges's films. I, too, like another reviewer, would have appreciated a clean copy of "The Sin Of Harold Diddlebock," also known as "Mad Wednesday," as it has languished in the public domain for a long time.

    Universal still doesn't believe in extras and that's a shame. We could have used interviews, documentaries, scripts, and perhaps the many feet that were left on the cutting room floor for "The Great Moment." I recommend the three Criterion Sturges films because of the extraordinary special features that are a hallmark of Criterion. But, again, let's give appropriate credit to Universal for doing its best for us fans and Sturges's masterworks.
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    54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    Preston Sturges has always had a small following among film fans. That's too bad because he was probably one of the most brilliant writers and directors of his generation. His screwball comedies are brilliant examples of Hollywood filmmaking at their best. The first film I saw by Sturges at UCLA was "Sullivan's Travels" and from that point on nobody could compare to this maverick. This boxed set from Universal collects the rest of Sturges most important work ("Unfaithfully Yours" and "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" are also available on DVD). Sturges reign at the top was brief but prolific; he produced most of his best films as a writer/director between 1940 and 1948 when he was at Paramount.

    Overall the films in the "Preston Sturges Collection" look quite good although "The Great McGinty" looks a bit gritty at times but still looks quite good. Blacks are pretty solid and the condition of the prints look pretty good with Universal clearly putting digital clean up into some of these films. Keep in mind also that the source material varies in age with the oldest film here being 66 years old. "Sullivan's Travels" compares favorably to the Criterion edition although I'd suggest fans keep that edition since "ST" has no notable extras as part of the package. Audio sounds crisp and clear which is important as Sturges' verbal wit is almost as important as the slapstick comedic set pieces that decorate his films like icing on a cake.

    Although this isn't a special feature it is a trend in the right direction for Universal. Many of their "tribute" collections have had as many as five films crammed onto one dual layered dual sided disc.
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    12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 1940s comedies August 26, 2007
    Format:DVD
    Preston Sturges may not be a big name nowadays compared to his directing contemporaries such as Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford or Frank Capra, but he was an important director in his time and even nowadays, for those who know him, he was a great director. Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection - collects seven of his biggest movies.

    First in the set is The Great McGinty, which stars Brian Donleavy as a man who goes from being a bum to a governor, only to have it all crash down on him. This is a decent enough comedy about the world of politics. It's advertising that's parodied in Christmas in July, with Dick Powell as a man who thinks he's won a contest to come up with an advertising slogan. It's all the result of a practical joke that gets way out of control before its exposed.

    Things really pick up with the next three movies. The Lady Eve has Henry Fonda as a wealthy yet clumsy young man targeted by con artist Barbara Stanwyck. Unfortunately for her, she actually falls for him, but when he finds out her true profession, she must engage in an even bigger con to win him back.

    Sullivan's Travels, considered by many to be Sturges's best picture, as Joel McCrea (in the first of three roles in Sturges movies) as the title character, a big-time movie director who makes great comedies but wants to make a message picture. He decides to live the life of a hobo to see how the poor live; at first, this is rather comic but at a certain point things turn much more serious, teaching Sullivan a lesson he wasn't expecting.

    Things lighten up in The Palm Beach Story, with the antics even occurring in the opening credits, As McCrea and Claudette Colbert get married. Five years later, things are on the rocks as they are broke.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL GROUP OF THIS DIRECTORS WORKS THAT ARE FUN, INSITEFUL AND...
    I NEVER HEARD OF THIS DIRECTOR UNTIL I SAW A MOVIE OF HIS ON TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES. THEN I WAS HOOKED. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Sarah
    5.0 out of 5 stars OUT STANDING MOVIES
    SEVEN movies by Prestion Sturges in one collection. Great movies with lots of laughs. Well worth watching if you like older movies from the 30's and 40's
    Published 5 months ago by D. at LLRC
    5.0 out of 5 stars Film Classic Bargain
    A great bargain package, from one of our finest film makers. I also purchased "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek", so my Sturges collection is complete.
    Published 6 months ago by howard t. levine
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product at a Great Price
    There is a reason these have lasted forever. Preston Sturges is playful, and a bit perverse. At this price, you have no excuse.
    Published 8 months ago by Melinda Baird
    5.0 out of 5 stars Best Loved Classics From The 1940's
    Amazon allowed me to "steal" this collection for $28, but even at the $40 price the package offers value because every film is a treasure. Read more
    Published 8 months ago by Robert Taylor Brewer
    4.0 out of 5 stars Missed Morgan Creek
    I'm a fan of Preston Sturges and gave this to some friends who had never seen The Lady Eve or The Great McGinty. I think they are fans now. Read more
    Published 9 months ago by linie
    3.0 out of 5 stars Good collection
    This is a good collection of movies, but the quality is of the recordings is not that good.
    It is watchable, and the movies are great.
    Published 10 months ago by george
    5.0 out of 5 stars Good movies.
    A great collection. All good movies or great movies that stand the test of time. Buy this and see from where the Coen brothers get their scripts.
    Published 10 months ago by Ben Ice
    3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed thoughts
    This is a collection of some very enjoyable Preston Sturges written and directed films and others that are just passable. Read more
    Published 11 months ago by Jack M. Averill
    5.0 out of 5 stars great collection
    If you like Preston Sturges' movies, you will love this package. Great movies at a great price. If you own less than four of these I would recommend this package.
    Published 12 months ago by James M.
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    Topic From this Discussion
    Wonder what these are like compared to the old Criterion versions?
    I have a hard time thinking Universal will IMPROVE over Criterion, which has made a name as the "defining" edition. However, I will be willing to take a small step down in extras for a much more reasonable price. My main question, though, is whether thesae will be slimcases or regular... Read More
    Nov 14, 2006 by J. Norberg |  See all 7 posts
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