Sunday, April 03, 2005

11 Rules for the Box Office, According to Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges (1898-1959) is one of the all-time great comedic filmmakers, with such classics as THE LADY EVE (1941), SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (also 1941) and my personal favorite, THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942), to his credit. Before finding acclaim as a director, Sturges was a highly respected screenwriter. The Film Forum in New York City is presenting a showcase of Sturges' written works entitled THE EARLY STURGES: PRESTON STURGES SCREENPLAYS, 1930-39. This article thakes a look at these early films and provides an overview of Sturges' body of work.

Around 1941, when Sturges began directing hit films, he made this cheeky list of eleven "rules" for good box office:

1. A pretty girl is better than an ugly one.
2. A leg is better than an arm.
3. A bedroom is better than a living room.
4. An arrival is better than a departure.
5. A birth is better than a death.
6. A chase is better than a chat.
7. A dog is better than a landscape.
8. A kitten is better than a dog.
9. A baby is better than a kitten.
10. A kiss is better than a baby.
11. A pratfall is better than anything.