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The Great Moment

Oh! Preston Sturges! Now I’m excited.

Hm…

I’ve never seen a Preston Sturges movie I haven’t liked… But this feels so choppy. The different time periods and the odd chronology… It’s so odd! I’m just not feeling this?

The maudlin music doesn’t help either.

Oh, yeah, this is about a dentist.

This is a really … nerdy… exploration of dentistry history. There are funny scenes, but… it’s… it’s so weird. Was this financed by The Dentistry Society of the US?

Oh!

The movie was filmed in 1942 but not released for over two years, and the released version differed from what Preston Sturges had wished, although he publicly accepted the film as his own. Paramount Pictures disliked the film Sturges had made, and pulled it from his control, re-titled and re-edited it, in the process making it (especially in the early segment) more confusing for the audience to understand. The studio’s released version was marketed in a way that made it appear to be one of Sturges’ comedies. The film was not well received by the critics or the public, and marked the end of a sustained run of success for Sturges, who had already left Paramount by the time the film was released.

So this is the start of Sturges’ downfall. I’ve seen all of his previous movies, and they’re all wonderful — masterpieces, really. Breezy, smart, funny — of the sort you’d imagine he’d be able to keep on doing.

But this is a pretty bad movie. The studio editing probably didn’t help much, but the individual scenes kinda lack zip.

The Great Moment. Preston Sturges. 1944.

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