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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 Unheard Song of Joy

The Unheard Song of Joy

(p.193) Chapter 9 The Unheard Song of Joy
Refocus: the Films of Preston Sturges

Jeff Jaeckle

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter illustrates some of the untapped riches of Preston Sturges’s unproduced screenplay for the musical Song of Joy, both in terms of its pivotal timing in his filmmaking career and its unappreciated achievements in screenwriting. When compared with Sturges’s other written-and-directed films, Song of Joy often shows less restraint and more exuberance in testing the boundaries of the Hollywood studio system, especially in terms of plotting, meta-cinema, and dialogue. Tracing these extremes clarifies why the script was so disliked and why so many studios rejected it. These analyses also illustrate the intensity of Sturges’s creative ambitions at this point in his career—that period between his roles as playwright and writer-director when he took an even more over-the-top approach to screenwriting.

Keywords:   Song of Joy, screenplay, musical, plotting, meta-cinema, dialogue, studio system

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