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UNIVERSAL PICTURES VIDEO TO RELEASE THE
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY PRESTON STURGES DVD BOX SET

 
Seven of the best from the legendary filmmaker, Preston Sturges, are to be released by Universal Pictures Video on 22nd August 2005.
 
The WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY  PRESTON STURGES box set is a seven-disc set of films that cemented Sturges’ place in posterity and put him down in history as the first to earn a Writer/Director credit. The box set includes the following films : THE GREAT McGINTY, SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS, THE LADY EVE, HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO, CHRISTMAS IN JULY, PALM BEACH STORY and THE GREAT MOMENT.
These seven films are fast-moving and packed with physical comedy, slapstick and memorable one-liners. These movies were also years ahead of their time in treatment of sex and morality.
 
THE GREAT McGINTY
Sometimes known in the UK as “Down Went McGinty”, this was Sturges first opportunity to direct after writing scripts for a decade.  Sturges  sold Paramount the script for $10 in return for letting him direct. Consequently, the film was a hit, and the script won an Oscar®.
A wonderful, funny and cynical political satire about down-and-out Dan McGinty’s  ( Brian Donlevy ) corrupt rise from skid row to the state governor’s mansion, manipulated by a crook known as The Boss ( Akim Tamiroff ), who has his own on-the-make agenda. It is only when he makes one attempt to be honest, that McGinty’s false world crumbles. The supporting names include some of the delightful character actors who were to become regulars in Sturges movies (e.g. William Demarest, Tamiroff, Esther Howard, Arthur Hoyt).
 
SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS
Preston Sturges brilliant satire is considered one of the finest movies about Hollywood film-making ever made. Comedy director John Sullivan ( Joel McCrea ) decides to give up his life of luxury and sets off on the road to research how the other half live. He plans to make “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?”, a somber, social conscious movie inspired by his experiences of poverty and desperation. A chance encounter with a failed starlet (Veronica Lake) enables  him to escape the studio publicity machine and learn at first hand the true value of entertainment. Beautifully acted by Sturges’ regular company of character actors, Sullivan’s adventures are as funny and relevant today, as they were 60 years ago. The film within a film which Sullivan plans to make inspired a real movie “ O Brother Where Art Thou ? by the Coen Brothers in 2000.
 
THE LADY EVE
This hilarious romance stars Barbara Stanwyck as Jean, a card sharp and con artist gambler with designs on Charles Pike’s ( Henry Fonda ) fortune.  Naturally, she makes a move on his heart strings once she has been outed as a gold digger. Both of the stars were previously better known for their dramatic performances, but here they prove just how well they could play brilliantly funny romantic comedy (and slapstick). The film won an Oscar® nomination for its original story, a play by Monckton Hoffe. Preston Sturges assisted in a rewrite of the screenplay for a 1956 remake, entitled  “The Birds And The Bees,”  which starred David Niven and Mitzi Gaynor.
 
HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO
This, the last film Sturges made for Paramount, is another wonderfully funny and cynical look at some of  America’s cherished beliefs.  It stars Eddie Bracken as Woodrow Truesmith, a war hero who, due to an unfortunate misunderstanding, never actually went to war.  His attempts to keep his secret are scuppered when his home town has him repatriated for a civic celebration of his exploits. In this sentimental comedy, many of the Sturges regular supporting players give the performances of their lives (e.g. Franklin Pangborn, Chester Conklin and Raymond Walburn). 
 
CHRISTMAS IN JULY
Imagine you have won a cash prize in a competition and go on a spending spree before you receive the cheque. Jimmy MacDonald ( Dick Powell ) and Betty Casey ( Ellen Drew ) do just that in this highly amusing satire, which turns to great slapstick when everybody wants their money back on learning  that the unfortunate couple don’t actually have a prize. Dick Powell, who had previously appeared as a handsome crooner in run of the mill movies, went on to become a major star, as well as a director and producer, after his great work in this film.
 
THE PALM BEACH STORY
Another brilliant, action packed Sturges comedy, this time when penniless husband, Tom Jeffers ( Joel McCrea ) looks like losing his scatterbrained wife, Gerry ( Claudette Colbert ) to multi-millionaire John D Hackensacker ( legendary singer Rudy Vallee ).Once they get to Florida, they become involved with any number of outrageous characters , played by many of the Sturges  regulars in hilarious cameos. The witty, sparkling dialogue, poking merciless fun at, amongst other targets, money and sex, is unforgettable.  
 
THE GREAT MOMENT
In a major change from his previous successful comedies, Sturges applied his talents to a dramatic, but not without some humour, biography of an American dental surgeon WTG Morton ( Joel McCrea ) was one of the pioneers in the use of anaesthetics in dentistry, but gained little reward for his endeavours. McCrea, by now a Sturges regular, again demonstrates the quality of his acting, which enabled him to remain at the top of his profession until well into the 1970s.
Sturges believed that Paramount treated the film unkindly (it was recut and kept on the shelf for two years ) and this lead to the ultimate break-up of their relationship.
 

 
OSCAR® AND ACADEMY AWARD® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK AND SERIVCE MARK OF THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES

The WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY PRESTON STURGES box set includes:
· Terry Jones commentary (on SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS)
· 20 page booklet  with mini biographies and facts for Preston Sturges and the actors/ actresses starring in these 7 films.
 

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY PRESTON STURGES Box set (PG) is a Universal Pictures Video release
Release Date = 22nd AUGUST 2005
RRP = £69.99
Running Times:
THE GREAT MOMENT = 1hr 27 mins
THE GREAT MCGINTY = 1hr 22mins
HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO = 1 hr 41 mins
THE LADY EVE = 1hr 33 mins
CHRISTMAS IN JULY = 1hr 7 mins
SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS = 1 hr 30 mins
PALM BEACH STORY = 1hr 24mins
 
‘Preston Sturges Collection’ is available for pre-order via AmazonUK, and as of yet there has been no US release date given.
 
You can read more about the DVD in our database.
 
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Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.

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