Sullivan's Travels (1941)

Not Rated   |    |  Adventure, Comedy, Drama


Sullivan's Travels (1941) Poster

A Hollywood director, John L Sullivan, sets out to experience life as a poor, homeless person in order to gain relevant life experience for his next movie.


7.9/10
23,792


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  • Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea in Sullivan's Travels (1941)
  • Jimmy Conlin and Joel McCrea in Sullivan's Travels (1941)
  • Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea in Sullivan's Travels (1941)
  • Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea in Sullivan's Travels (1941)
  • Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea in Sullivan's Travels (1941)
  • Veronica Lake in Sullivan's Travels (1941)

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Awards

2 wins.

Reviews & Commentary

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15 September 2006 | Camera-Obscura
A tribute to the art of comedy
After the opening credits, the film opens with the following statement.

"To the memory of those who made us laugh: the motley mountebanks, the clowns, the buffoons, in all times and in all nations whose efforts have lightened our burden a little, this picture is affectionately dedicated."

With this film, Preston Sturges made one of the smartest and most insightful comedies ever to come out of Hollywood, in which he especially held up the mirror to Tinseltown itself. A Hollywood variation on Gulliver's Travels, it's the tale of Hollywood director John Sullivan (Joel McCrea), tired of making Hollywood Fluff, who wants to branch out with a socially conscious epic, called "O Brother, Where Art Thou", and sets out to research the meaning of poverty. His studio bosses (very funny roles by Robert Warwick and Porter Hall) try to tell him it's a ridiculous idea but Sullivan insists, puts on some hobo clothes and sets out to see what it's like to experience poverty and suffering. The studio soon sees it as potential publicity stunt and sent an entire crew to follow him around during his trip.

Some very enjoyable references to socially conscious movie-making, to Ernst Lubitch in particular, make this particularly fun with some knowledge of the period and the films mentioned, albeit not necessary. And almost worth seeing alone for Veronica Lake's memorable performance as a failed starlet.

According to Sturges, the film did contain a little "message":

"SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS is the result of an urge, an urge to tell some of my fellow filmwrights that they were getting a little too deep-dish and to leave the preaching to the preachers."

By any means, he made a uniquely self-reflective comedy about Hollywood with wonderful characterizations and superlative performances. A brilliant satire with a "message" just as poignant as ever.

Camera Obscura --- 9/10

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