Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer

Director: Kenneth Bowser
Screenwriters: Todd McCarthy

Institute History

  • 1990 Sundance Film Festival


The creator of eight completely distinctive films during a four year period at Paramount, Preston Sturges was, with Orson Welles, the reigning Hollywood genius of the 1940s. His great comedies, including The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travells, The Palm Beach Story, The Muncie of Morgan's Creek, and Hail the Conquering Hero, are packed with wit, sophistication, astonishing circumventions of the censorship code and an ironic view of American values. He changed the face of Hollywood forever, being among the first to direct from his own screenplays, thereby opening the doors for such writer/directors as Billy Wilder, John Huston, and Joseph Mankiewicz to follow.

Sturges's star, however, fell as quickly as it had risen, beginning with a disastrous partnership with Howard Hughes. With the additional failure of his Hollywood restaurant, Sturges bottomed out during his self-exile in Paris and New York before his death in 1959. Brimming with film clips, commentaries from friends, family and associates and rare recordings and footage of Sturges himself, Preston Sturges vividly portrays the man's larger-than life personality, his immense talent and his later years of increasing obscurity.

Sunday, January 21, 1:00 p.m.
Egyptian Theatre

Monday, January 22, 7:30 p.m.
Holiday Village Cinema I

Thursday, January 25, 10:00 p.m.
Prospector Square Theatre

Saturday, January 27,7:30 p.m.
Holiday Village Cinema I


— Tony Safford

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]