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Preston Sturges Rules

If you haven’t seen The Lady Eve, then you haven’t seen Henry Fonda as a total rube, Barbara Stanwyck at her comic best, and some of the cleverest writing in Hollywood.  And yeah there’s Biblical elements of Adam and Eve, snakes, apples and so forth, and while the ultimate theme is NOT Biblical, it’s still a funny movie.

The Lady EveThat said, my favorite Sturges film remains Sullivan’s Travels. If you consider yourself a comedy writer and haven’t seen these, you owe it to yourself and your writing to catch up.

Here are a few rules that Preston gave us for our good.  Enjoy:

  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

 

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