Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Quote of the Day (Preston Sturges, With His ‘Rules for Box-Office Appeal’)

“1. A pretty girl is better than an ugly one.
2. A leg is better than an arm.
3. A bedroom is better than a living room.
4. An arrival is better than a departure.
5. A birth is better than a death.
6. A chase is better than a chat.
7. A dog is better than a landscape.
8. A kitten is better than a dog.
9. A baby is better than a kitten.
10. A kiss is better than a baby.
11. A pratfall is better than anything.”—Oscar-winning screenwriter-director Preston Sturges (1898-1959), “Eleven Rules for Box-Office Appeal,” quoted in Alessandro Pirolini, in The Cinema of Preston Sturges: A Critical Study (2010)

The image accompanying this post is from my favorite Preston Sturges comedy, The Lady Eve (1941). I love how Henry Fonda plays bumbling brewery heir Charles Pike with a mix of enthrallment and alarm as he falls under the spell of the alluring gold digger Jean (played by Barbara Stanwyck). 

And well he might: As Jean tells a confidante, in one of the great lines in Sturges’ hilarious script: “I need him like the ax needs the turkey.”

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