Preston Sturges and John Hughes died 50 years apart to the day. Each separated himself from Hollywood in his own way, but Sturges never lost his belief in the possibilities film offered. (Movie Morlocks)
Perhaps that’s the biggest distinction between John Hughes and Preston Sturges. Whereas Hughes grew conservative and restrained, Sturges became riskier and more inventive with every new film. Consider his final two hits, both released in 1944: The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek is the story of a woman who can’t remember which soldier got her pregnant at a wild party, and Hail the Conquering Hero is about a rejected marine who pretends to be a war hero upon returning to his hometown. Both these films were made during World War II (!), when the Production Code bristled at the mere suggestion of wartime impropriety. (As critic James Agee famously wrote about The Miracle of Morgans’ Creek, “The Hays Office has been raped in its sleep.”) But Sturges believed in his scripts, and he fought for them – and, incredibly, he won. If he wasn’t trying something new, he was just plain bored.