Preston Sturges - End of a Legend (Book)

The Last Years of Hollywood's First Writer-Director

Few directors of the 1930s and '40s were as distinctive and popular as Preston Sturges, whose whipsmart comedies have entertained audiences for decades. With a foreword by Peter Bogdanovich and endorsements from Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Shelton and James L. Brooks, this book offers a new critical appreciation of Sturges's whole oeuvre, closing with a detailed study of his life, developed from new primary sources, from 1949 until his death in 1959. Nick Smedley details the many unfinished projects of Sturges's last decade, including films, plays, TV series and his autobiography. Drawing on diaries, sketchbooks, correspondence, unpublished screenplays and more, Smedley presents Sturges's final years in more detail than we've ever had, showing a master still at work – even if very little of that work ultimately made it to the screen.  

Category: Film Studies


A survey of Preston Sturges’ film canon, with a new critical appreciation followed by a detailed study, using new primary sources, of his career (and private life) from 1949 until his death in 1959, highlighting the many unfinished projects of this decade, including films, plays, TV series and his autobiography. The book looks in detail at his life and works, using newly available (exclusive to this author) archival material from the private family archive including diaries, an ‘Ideas Book’, sketches, extensive correspondence, unpublished screenplays and the unpublished full text of his autobiography. This material is supplemented by archival material from the archive at UCLA.

Nick Smedley taught an MA module in recent Hollywood history at Birkbeck College, London, in 2008. Since then, he has been a freelance lecturer at film societies and cinemas in Chichester, the New Forest, Wimbledon and Central London.

Tom Sturges is the son of Preston Sturges and the author of three books: Parking Lot Rules, Grow The Tree You Got and Every Idea Is a Good Idea, all published with Penguin Random House. He teaches music business at UCLA and is both an artist manager and consultant. He has been widely recognized for mentoring at-risk, inner-city children and is the father of three sons.

Related Titles