Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Better Late Than Never!

I have long been puzzled by the lack of Preston Sturges movies available on DVD. It's all very strange, since Sturges was a comic genius and has been a huge influence on modern-day directors, especially the Coen Brothers, who paid explicit homage to "Sullivan's Travel" in "O Brother, Where Art Thou"--even the title comes from Sturges.

Of his great comic masterpieces from the 1940s, only "The Lady Eve" and "Sullivan's Travels" have been released on DVD--until now. Today, the NY Times reported that my all-time favorite Sturgess classic, "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," has finally come out:
Here is one of the comic masterpieces of the American cinema - Preston Sturges's amiably blasphemous 1944 update of the Nativity story to a small town in postwar America - presented in a superb print for the highly reasonable list price of $14.99.

Betty Hutton
is Trudy Kockenlocker, the local beauty who returns from a dimly remembered night on the town, with a soldier whose name may or may not have been Ignatz Ratzkywatzky, in an inconvenient (and at that time, highly censorable) family way.

Eddie Bracken is the unassuming boyfriend who heroically steps forward to save her reputation, and ends up a national hero. So just buy it already.

I saw Eddie Bracken in person at the University of Texas a few years ago, when he presented "Miracle of Morgan's Creek" and "Hail the Conquering Hero" (which better be next to come out on DVD!). Eddie died recently, but you may remember him as the Walt Disney-esque character "Roy Wally" in "National Lampoon's Vacation." Eddie said that John Hughes, who directed "Vacation," was a big fan of his work in the Sturges films and made sure that he got a small cut of the profits, which is what he live on during leaner years.

Here's another short NY Times piece on these two great movies.

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"The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" is availaible at Netflix already!

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