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.

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.

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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