The ABC's of Film Noir
The ABC's of Film Noir

John Sturges, Director

Sturges always maintained that this was the single proudest moment of his life was when Akira Kurosawa told him that he loved The Magnificent Seven (1960),

John Sturges in Illinois in 1910. He began working in Hollywood in 1932. Sturges worked in the blueprint department of RKO. This led to him learning the Technicolor process. Finally, he was hired as a color consultant for The Garden of Allah (1936).

During World War II he served in the US Army Signal Corps but transferred to the US Army Air Corps. In the African, Italian, and European theaters of military operation, he edited and/or directed 37 training films and 5 documentaries.

Following the war, he joined Columbia Pictures remaining there from 1946-1949. During this time, he worked on “12-day wonders” which were B films that were shot in 12 days. One film from this period is the Film Noir The Sign of the Ram (1948)

For the next six years, he worked on larger budget B’s at MGM. One of the very good films that he directed during this period includes the Film Noir Mystery Street (1950), The People Against O’Hara (1951), and the amazing western drama Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). In 1959, he ran his own production company and released films through United Artists. From 1960-1967, he worked for United Artists.

Director John Sturges had a pension for, often westerns, with large tough characters. The aforementioned Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) clearly reflects this. Other movies that reflect this include Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Law and Jake Wade (1958), Never So Few (1959), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963), The Satan Bug (1965), Ice Station Zebra (1968), Marooned (1969), Chino (1973), and The Eagle Has Landed (1976).

The Hallelujah Trail (1965) also fits the pattern but is a wonderful comedy. Other notable films are The Old Man and the Sea (1958) and the John Wayne film McQ (1974). Sturges died in 199

In all, he directed 44 movies. They are listed below.

Alias Mr. Twilight (1946)
Shadowed (1946)
The Man Who Dared (1946)
Thunderbolt (Documentary short) (as Capt John Sturges) (1947)
Keeper of the Bees (1947)
For the Love of Rusty (1947)
Best Man Wins (1948)
The Sign of the Ram (1948)
The Walking Hills (1949)
The Magnificent Yankee (1950)
Right Cross (1950)
Mystery Street (1950)
The Capture (1950)
It’s a Big Country: An American Anthology (1951)
The People Against O’Hara (1951)
Kind Lady (1951)
The Girl in White (1952)
Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)
Fast Company (1953)
Jeopardy (1953)
The Scarlet Coat (1955)
Underwater! (1955)
Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Backlash (1956)
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
The Old Man and the Sea (1958)
The Law and Jake Wade (1958)
Saddle the Wind (uncredited) (1958)
Never So Few (1959)
Last Train from Gun Hill (1959)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
By Love Possessed (1961)
A Girl Named Tamiko (1962)
Sergeants 3 (1962)
The Great Escape (1963)
The Hallelujah Trail (1965)
The Satan Bug (1965)
Hour of the Gun (1967)
Ice Station Zebra (1968)
Marooned (1969)
Joe Kidd (1972)
Chino (1973)
McQ (1974)
The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

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