Preston Sturges had what can only be described as a meteoric movie career. A Broadway playwright who made the successful move to Hollywood screenwriter, Sturges was one of Hollywood's first writer-directors. And for a brief five-year period, 1939-44, he reigned atop the film-industry heap, making such films as "The Great McGinty," "The Lady Eve," "Sullivan's Travels," "The Miracle at Morgan's Creek" and "Hail the Conquering Hero."
But then it was effectively over. Through a combination of Hollywood politics, changing audience tastes and Sturges' own personal problems, his career hit a decline and never truly recovered.
Still, the best of what Sturges had to offer lives on. Which will become clear to anyone who attends tonight's special event spnsored by the Spokane International Film Festival. As part of SpIFF's Professor Series, Sturges' 1941 comedy "Sullivan's Travels" will screen at 7 at the Magic Lantern Theater. Presented by Leonard Oakland, the emeritus professor of English and film at Whitworth University, the event costs $7 general admission ($5 for students with valid ID).