John Eliot Sturges (January 3, 1910 – August 18, 1992) was an American film director. His movies include Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963) and Ice Station Zebra (1968). The Great Escape was entered into the 3rd Moscow International Film Festival. He was not related to director Preston Sturges.
He started his career in Hollywood as an editor in 1932. During World War II, he directed documentaries and training films for the United States Army Air Corps. Sturges's mainstream directorial career began in 1946 with The Man Who Dared, the first of many B-movies. He made imaginative use of the widescreen CinemaScope format by placing Spencer Tracy alone against a vast desert panorama in the suspense film Bad Day at Black Rock for which he received a Best Director Oscar nomination in 1955. Over the course of his career, Sturges developed a reputation for elevated character-based drama within the confines of genre filmmaking. He was awarded the Golden Boot Award in 1992 for his lifetime contribution to Westerns.
He once met with Akira Kurosawa, who told him that he loved The Magnificent Seven (which was a remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai) and presented him with a samurai sword. Sturges considered this the proudest moment of his professional career.
His biography, Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges by Glenn Lovell (former film critic for the San Jose Mercury News) was published by University of Wisconsin Press in 2008.
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