The Lady Eve was Sturges' biggest hit yet, and the reviews were so good they "scared the bejesus out of" him. "I feel like making a good safe tragedy," he wrote to one critic. Instead, he turned his satirical eye on himself with Sullivan's Travels, about a successful director of Hollywood comedies who wants to make a tragedy—specifically, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, based on the novel by Sinclair Beckstein.... Sullivan, played with perfect self-deprecation by Joel McCrea, wants to make "a picture of dignity ... a true canvas of the suffering of humanity." "But with a little sex in it," says one of the studio execs. "But with a little sex in it," he concedes.Responses from Atlantic Monthly editor Ross Douthat, family-film critic Nell Minnow, and devoted cinephile Andy Horbal.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The Miracle of Preston Sturges
My second article for Slate is about the great Preston Sturges, who made eight movies in four years-- seven of which are terrific.