American Masters (1985– )
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Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer 



Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Himself (archive footage)
Herself, family friend (as Priscilla B. Woolfan)
Sandy Sturges ...
Herself, Mrs. Preston Sturges
Frances Ramsden ...
Herself, actress and friend
Thomas Quinn Curtiss ...
Himself, film historian and friend (as Thomas Quinn Curtis)
Edwin Gillette ...
Himself, Paramount Producer
Himself (archive footage)
Himself, film critic (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)


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Release Date:

2 July 1990 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Part of the PBS series "American Masters". See more »


Features The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

A Vital Documentary For Lovers Of Good Comedy
12 August 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

If any documentary needs to be shown regularly on TV in the English speaking world, this one certainly does. People - especially those who love good comedy - need to be turned on to Preston Sturges, and this will do it for them. Their lives will never be the same!

I remember seeing it on TV here in the UK many years ago, and not knowing who Preston Sturges was, I never recorded it. Damn!! I had to wait over ten years before I managed to see it again as an extra on the Criterion Collection DVD of Sullivan's Travels.

Luckily though, that first viewing heralded a short season of Preston Sturges movies as a Christmas treat on the BBC, so I did manage to record five of his best movies within the same number of days. That's the sort of Christmas we should always enjoy. "I'm dreaming of a Sturges Christmas"

The documentary gives a good account of the life and work of Preston Sturges. It makes it clear how he broke through the demarcation of roles in Hollywood studios, and made it possible for himself and people like Billy Wilder to direct their own scripts, and produce comedy movies with a original vision and point of view.

There are familiar but well chosen clips of his famous movies, but there's also bits from the earlier movies he wrote for other directors. But the big story told by the talking heads is the rise and fall of Sturges, as he went from writing, directing, and producing movies of true genius to essentially a has-been within only a few years.

Watching this documentary may not be as good as watching one of Preston Sturges' best movies, but it certainly beats most movies, and remains worth repeated viewings for me.

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