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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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Introduction: An Agile Mind—The Many Stands of Preston Sturges

Introduction: An Agile Mind—The Many Stands of Preston Sturges

(p.1) Introduction: An Agile Mind—The Many Stands of Preston Sturges
Refocus: the Films of Preston Sturges

Jeff Jaeckle

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter challenges the reining views of Sturges as an ambivalent figure torn between art and commerce, especially as promulgated in popular writings by James Agee; instead, the chapter proposes new descriptive clusters or patterns that cut across every aspect of the filmmaker’s life: creator, businessman, wordsmith, skeptic, and optimist. These terms provide a good sense of the personality, vitality, and talents that made Sturges such a compelling figure, with the first three speaking to his aptitudes and endeavours, and the latter two characterizing his attitudes and worldview. Rather than set these terms in opposition, the chapter puts them in conversation to illustrate the complexities of Sturges’s remarkable life and to shed light on why he was, and continues to be, such a pivotal figure in Hollywood cinema and American culture.

Keywords:   Ambivalent, James Agee, creator, businessman, skeptic, wordsmith, optimist

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