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By Andrew Dickos

All through his profession, Preston Sturges (1898–1959) used to be recognized for bringing sophistication and wit to the style of comedy, setting up himself as some of the most priceless writer-directors in Forties Hollywood. this present day, greater than fifty years once they have been initially produced, his motion pictures have misplaced little in their facet and stay very popular. Intrepid Laughter is an important consultant to the lifestyles and paintings of this luminary of the level and reveal, following Sturges from his strange adolescence, to his early good fortune as a Broadway playwright, to his whirlwind occupation in Hollywood.

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Additional info for Intrepid Laughter: Preston Sturges and the Movies (Screen Classics)

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It was a move she regretted the rest of her life. Just when things looked bleakest, Isadora and all her girls followed to New York and life picked up again. a coterie that included painters, poets, stage designers, musicians, and, especially to the delight of Preston with his burgeoning interest in photography, Arnold Genthe, Edward Steichen, and Alfred Stieglitz. 29 Isadora was preparing to mount her production of Oedipus Rex at the Century Theatre with her brother Augustin as Oedipus, and offered sixteen-year-old Preston his first theatre job as an assistant stage manager.

66 This he did; and to prove the quantity of laughs in this and subsequent pictures, he gauged his audiences' laughter with a laugh meter. In measurements of laughter "force," Sturges counted one point for a chuckle, two points for a laugh, three for a hearty laugh, and four for a yell. The laugh meter yielded, for instance, at a test screening at the Academy Theatre in Inglewood, California, on September 23, 1941: 131 ones, 54 twos, 23 threes, and 8 fours. 67 Ren~ Early in 1942, Sturges produced and wrote some of Clair's I Married a Witch, but took his name off as 38 / Intrepid Laughter Sturges directs Veronica Lake in a scene from Sullivan's Travels.

It ran briefly on Broadway before being sold to the movies. The terms of sale for dramatic properties to the movies in those days brought fifty per cent to the author and fifty per cent to the producer. Producer A. C. Blumenthal-"Blumey"--represented Sturges in the sale of Strictly Dishonorable and Child of Manhattan, and trapped him in a financial obligation that required Sturges to pay back a twothousand-dollar loan against the movie sale of Child of Manhattan. Sturges was on a ship returni~ from Paris, where he went to pursue Eleanor, and was unable to meet the payment exactly on the specified date.

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