Tag: zena hitz

ACF Masters #12: The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek

 

One time during the war years, Preston Sturges proposed a solution to the war problems: A baby boom. Mussolini simply gave up–Hitler demanded a recount–American fertility was simply unbelievable! So Zena Hitz and I talk about it, our fifth and last Sturges conversation. Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek is a small town comedy, but it also has a sentimental side–it pokes fun at heartland America and then shows the loving heart of America–it shows what our conventional ideas get wrong, but also how they try to help nature along, as well as where nature rebels against convention… There’s much farce, but every bit of it is also a reflection on who we really are as human beings, including some of the darkness in us. In short, what we call as classic.

ACF Masters #11: Hail the Conquering Hero

 

Welcome to wartime comedy! Zena Hitz and I bring you the two small-town 4f blues movies Preston Sturges made–first the Marine revolution in Oak Grove, CA, or how democracy comes to a quaint old place. This is an Eddie Bracken comedy, the most hangdog comedian after Buster Keaton, and so even when he gets the parade, the girl, his mother’s happy, whole town loves him, and he’s about to be acclaimed mayor, he’s still miserable. It’s as funny as Hollywood ever got. Enjoy! It’s also the one time Sturges wrote songs, and they’re quite funny, too.

ACF Masters #10: The Palm Beach Story

 

As promised last week, after The Lady Eve comes The Palm Beach Story, the story of Tom (Joel McCrea, ever the straight-shooting visionary) and Gerry (Claudette Colbert, as leggy, witty, and chasing after glamour as ever), a couple who can’t stick together because his business doesn’t really make money and her desire to spend money on herself doesn’t really lead her to work. A very American couple experiences the American problem, money and beauty, or how you find out what you really want and how to get it, and it takes a comic poet to solve it.

ACF Masters #9: The Lady Eve

 

Today, Zena Hitz returns to the podcast after collecting her laurels for the remarkable success of her book Lost In Thought: The Hidden Pleasures Of An Intellectual Life, or lifelong learning for all Americans. We’re continuing our series on America’s most hilarious comedy writer-director. Preston Sturges: We’ve already covered Sullivan’s Travels, today we turn to romantic comedy, or the problem of modern womanhood in America–The Lady Eve, or The Pratfall of Man. Hank Fonda is Charlie “Hopsy” Pike, heir to the Pike ale fortune and Amazon explorer returning to civilization. Barbara Stanwyck is Eugenia “Gene” Harrington (aka Eve), who hits him in the head with an apple the first time she lays eyes on him. Charlie Coburn is “Colonel” Harrington, her father, a wonderful con man. Eugene Pallette is his–Mr Pike of the bellowing laugh. William Demarest is Muggsy, Fonda’s guardian angel, a sweet soul and truthteller.

ACF Masters #8: Sullivan’s Travels

 

Since we’re facing a new Great Depression, here’s a comedy for our times: Sullivan’s Travels, Preston Sturges’s adventure through Great Depression America. From Hollywood to the chain gang, from hoboing on trains to a Southern church where black people sing about Moses setting them free. Prof. Zena Hitz has a new book out, Lost in Thought, about the pleasures and the worth of the intellectual life.