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Refocus: the Films of Preston Sturges$
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Jeff Jaeckle and Sarah Kozloff

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781474406550

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474406550.001.0001

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The Eye of the Storm: Preston Sturges and Performance

The Eye of the Storm: Preston Sturges and Performance

(p.211) Chapter 10 The Eye of the Storm: Preston Sturges and Performance
Refocus: the Films of Preston Sturges

Diane Carson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analyses performance in The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story with comparisons and contrasts to several other Sturges comedies. It examines performative choices by Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, and Charles Coburn in The Lady Eve and acting choices by Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, and Rudy Vallee in The Palm Beach Story. Using Laban methodology, it describes the affective qualities of expressions, gestures, and voices as well as the impact of costuming. Consideration is given to Sturges’s cinematic presentation of actors’ movements and physical attributes with particular attention to how differences in gesture and expression shape audiences’ perception of characters. The essay also considers characteristics of screwball comedies and gender representation within them.

Keywords:   performance, Laban methodology, screwball comedies, gender representation, The Lady Eve, The Palm Beach Story

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