Preston Sturges


Preston Sturges (born Edmund Preston Biden; August 29, 1898 – August 6, 1959) first gained success from writing stage plays, then as a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He was the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his 1940 directorial debut, The Great McGinty, which he famously sold the script to Paramount Pictures for $1 in order to direct it (for legal reasons it was raised to $10). Sturges took the screwball comedy format of the 1930s to another level, writing dialogue that, heard today, is often surprisingly naturalistic, mature, and ahead of its time, despite the farcical situations. It is not uncommon for a Sturges character to deliver an exquisitely turned phrase and take an elaborate pratfall within the same scene.

Among his best known films are The Lady Eve (1941), with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda; Sullivan’s Travels (1941), with Joel McRea and Veronica Lake; The Palm Beach Story (1942), with Claudette Colbert and McRea; The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1943), with Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton; The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947), with Harold Lloyd; and Unfaithfully Yours (1948), with Rex Harrison and Linda Darnell.

Prior to Sturges, other figures in Hollywood (such as Charlie Chaplin, D. W. Griffith, and Frank Capra) had directed films from their own scripts, however Sturges is often regarded as the first Hollywood figure to establish success as a screenwriter and then move into directing his own scripts, at a time when those roles were separate.

Each new review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • The Great McGinty (1940)
  • Christmas in July (1940)
  • The Lady Eve (1941)
  • Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
  • The Palm Beach Story (1942)
  • The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1943)
  • The Great Moment (1944)
  • Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
  • The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947)
  • Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
  • The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949)
  • Vendetta (1950) – uncredited
  • The French, They Are a Funny Race (1953)


  • The Big Pond (1930) – dialogue
  • Fast and Loose (1930) – additional dialogue
  • The Invisible Man (1933) – contributing writer
  • The Power and the Glory (1933) – screenplay, dialogue director
  • Imitation of Life (1934) – contributing writer)
  • We Live Again (1934) – on-screen adaptation
  • Thirty Day Princess (1934) – co-screenplay
  • The Good Fairy (1935) – screenplay, directed by William Wyler
  • Diamond Jim (1935) – screenplay
  • Love Before Breakfast (1936) – contributor to treatment
  • Next Time We Love (1936) – contributor to screenplay construction
  • Easy Living (1937) – screenplay
  • Hotel Haywire (1937) – original story, screenplay
  • If I Were King (1938) – screenplay
  • Port of Seven Seas (1938) – screenplay
  • College Swing (1938) – contributing writer
  • Never Say Die (1939) – co-screenplay
  • Remember the Night (1940) – screenplay