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Learn about the man, not about the work
on December 17, 2002
The strange title and author attribution of this (auto)biography of movie writer/director Sturges is revealed in the last paragraph, and I won't give it away here. Trust me to say that this is a fascinating look into Preston Sturges' life as it is revealed by the man himself. Revealing? For example, the time spent by Sturges working on his six Hollywood classics (starting with "The Great McGinty" and ending with "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek") are briefly covered in approximately 50 pages. Instead of concentrating his life into the three years that made him famous, Sturges spreads his story out equally to all years of his life, spending an equal amount of time on his toddlership. Fortunately, Sturges' life is interesting and by the time you arrive with him in Hollywood, you may agree with him that it's not necessarily as high a pinnacle as it may seem.
What you discover here is that Sturges, while a gifted writer and director, was something of a strange chap. His early life, while providing him many of the anecdotes that he would later incorporate into his movies, weren't necessarily guiding him to the silver screen. By tricks of simple fate, Sturges avoided a career as a perfumer, a broker, and an inventor. And, before Hollywood, there was a chance that he would have stayed a playwright on Broadway. For a man with the drive for success and money, though, no place but Hollywood in those years had quite the means to deliver the goods.
There's a few pictures to round out the book and a nice bibliography. As a starting point to discovering more about Sturges' work, this is a great book. About that work, though, one must look elsewhere.