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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 26 July 2021

Presto(n) con Spirito: Comedies with Music, Sturges-style

Presto(n) con Spirito: Comedies with Music, Sturges-style

Chapter:
(p.232) Chapter 11 Presto(n) con Spirito: Comedies with Music, Sturges-style
Source:
Refocus: the Films of Preston Sturges
Author(s):

Martin Marks

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474406550.003.0011

This chapter probes music in eight comedies directed by Sturges: seven Paramount productions (1940-44) and Unfaithfully Yours (1948). The Paramount features departed from generic norms for studio romantic comedies by having more music than was customary. But how much credit does Sturges deserve for being a musical “auteur”? The question remains open, but the essay’s analyses show how well Paramount’s staff composers served his purposes. Through apt themes and clever thematic developments, jarring mixtures of “high” and “low” styles, disjunctive couplings of diegetic and non-diegetic cues, ironic allusions to pre-existent repertoires, and (in select cases) through the use of unconventional “musical montages,” each of these scores enhanced the director’s paradoxical narratives. Unfaithfully Yours brought these paradoxes to the fore in a novel manner, and addressed fundamental questions of music’s own meanings, both in film and on its own.

Keywords:   Scores, auteur, diegetic, musical montage, romantic comedies

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