CHRISTMAS IN JULY
1940, Universal, 67 min, USA, Dir: Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges’ second feature as director stars Dick Powell as a humble clerk who thinks he’s won a big contest and starts spending like it’s, well, you know. Big problem: He doesn’t know he’s the victim of a practical joke. Typical madcap mayhem with Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn and the rest of the Sturges stock company.


HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO
1944, Universal, 100 min, USA, Dir: Preston Sturges

When Eddie Bracken is discharged from the military for chronic hay fever, his pals decide to send him home with a reputation as a great war hero. What ensues is a flurry of patriotic fervor, some genuine and some ridiculous, but all of it hilarious in writer-director Preston Sturges' hands. Sturges' incisive view of what defines true heroism during wartime is as spot-on today as it was in 1944, and his direction of an ensemble of gifted character actors is a timeless delight.


THE PALM BEACH STORY
1942, Universal, 88 min, USA, Dir: Preston Sturges

Though Claudette Colbert still loves her failed-architect hubby Joel McCrea, she nonetheless leaves him for greener pastures. Enter Rudy Vallee as a mild-mannered zillionaire and Mary Astor as his nympho sister and, well, the possibilities are just endless. Another hysterical Sturges classic, highlighted by the all-star Ale & Quail Club and the unforgettable Wienie King!


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