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Preston Sturges

The Last Years of Hollywood’s First Writer-Director

Few directors of the 1930s and ‘40s were as distinctive and popular as Preston Sturges, whose whipsmart comedies have entertained audiences for decades. Beginning with a foreword by Peter Bogdanovich, this book offers a new critical appreciation of Sturges’ whole oeuvre, incorporating a detailed study of the last ten years of his life from new primary sources. Preston Sturges details the many unfinished projects of Sturges’ last decade, including films, plays, TV series and his autobiography. Drawing on diaries, sketchbooks, correspondence, unpublished screenplays and more, Nick Smedley and Tom Sturges present the writer-director’s final years in more detail than we’ve ever seen, showing a master still at work—even if very little of that work ultimately made it to the screen or stage.

350 pages | 7 x 9 | © 2019

Biography and Letters

Film Studies

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"A fascinating account of Preston Sturges, who wrote and directed some of the great treasures of cinema and has remained as mysterious as his God-given talent."

Francis Ford Coppola

"The unknown final chapter in the life of American comic genius Preston Sturges after his meteoric rise and fall, revealed in great detail by Nick Smedley and Tom Sturges."

Ron Shelton

"Every past, present and future screenwriter owes Preston Sturges big time. He was the first Hollywood screenwriter to control his own work by becoming film's first writer-director. I owe him my hyphen as well as my pure awe of his talent. And now, finally, in this book, the whole story of his life and times and his forever-golden work."

James L. Brooks

"A significant contribution to film scholarship."

Washington Post

"A biography that concentrates, in revelatory detail, on Preston’s latter years . . . . often breathtakingly raw."

The Guardian

"It’s a thoroughly researched, illuminating, and heartbreaking portrait of the artist."

Gay City News

 "A fascinating and revealing book about [Tom Sturges's] father’s 10 years of decline, leading to his death, a decade when he struggled every day to regain his status as Hollywood royalty."

Easy Reader News

“Tapping a wealth of fascinating archival material, including telegrams, diaries and screenplay drafts, the co-authors find a story that could have made for one of Sturges’s frenzied farces.”

Peter Tonguette | Wall Street Journal

"Other books on the great writer-director Preston Sturges have tended to dismiss his frustrating final years. This one, co-written by his son, emphasizes that part of his life, drawing largely on correspondence between the filmmaker and his last wife Sandy (who kept carbon copies of everything she wrote)."

Leonard Maltin

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