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Sullivan's Travels (1941)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 15,269 users  
Reviews: 125 user | 93 critic

A director of escapist films goes on the road as a hobo to learn about Life...which gives him a rude awakening.

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Title: Sullivan's Travels (1941)

Sullivan's Travels (1941) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Robert Warwick ...
Mr. LeBrand
...
Mr. Jones
...
Mr. Casalsis
Porter Hall ...
Mr. Hadrian
Byron Foulger ...
Johnny Valdelle
Margaret Hayes ...
Secretary
Robert Greig ...
Burroughs - Sullivan's Butler
Eric Blore ...
Sullivan's Valet
Torben Meyer ...
The Doctor
Victor Potel ...
Cameraman
Richard Webb ...
Radio Man
Charles R. Moore ...
Colored Chef (as Charles Moore)
Almira Sessions ...
Ursula Kornheiser
Edit

Storyline

Sullivan is a successful, spoiled, and naive director of fluff films, with a heart-o-gold, who decides he wants to make a film about the troubles of the downtrodden poor. Much to the chagrin of his producers, he sets off in tramp's clothing with a single dime in his pocket to experience poverty first-hand, and gets some reality shock. Written by Bob Doolittle <Bob.Doolittle@east.sun.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Happy-Go Lucky Hitch-Hiker on the Highway to happiness! He wanted to see the world . . . but wound up in Lover's Lane! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sullivans Reisen  »

Box Office

Budget:

$689,665 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV premiere)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Jones, the associate producer, appears as the portrait of "Dear Joseph", the dead husband, early in the film. See more »

Goofs

When the supposedly unconscious Sullivan is being pulled by a bum who hit him into an empty boxcar, you can see the actor (Joel McRae) push himself along with his foot, apparently because the other man is not strong enough to drag him. See more »

Quotes

The Girl: You know, the nice thing about buying food for a man is that you don't have to listen to his jokes. Just think, if you were some big shot like a casting director or something, I'd be staring into your bridgework saying 'Yes, Mr. Smearcase. No, Mr. Smearcase. Not really, Mr. Smearcase! Oh, Mr. Smearcase, that's my knee!' Give Mr. Smearcase another cup of coffee. Make it two. Want a piece of pie?
John L. Sullivan: No thanks, kid.
The Girl: Why, Mr. Smearcase, aren't you getting a little familiar?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Numb3rs: Atomic No. 33 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Spring Song
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played as part of the score when Sullivan starts his experiment
Reprised when he starts a second time
See more »

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User Reviews

A tribute to the art of comedy
15 September 2006 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

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


21 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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