There was an innocent spirit in the movies that Preston Sturges made during World War II. His comedy was broad and his wit could be cutting, but at their core his films recall a time when we thought we had reason to be optimistic about the innate goodness of the human spirit. Sturges’s style did not survive the cynical realism of the postwar era. But while it lasted, his films dominated the industry. From 1939 through 1943, he wrote and directed The Great McGinty, Sullivan’s Travels, Christmas in July, The Lady Eve, Hail the Conquering Hero, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek and The Palm Beach Story. Four of his films are listed by the American Film Academy among the top 100 comedies of the 20th century.