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Sullivan's Travels (1941)

Not Rated  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Drama  |  December 1941 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 16,599 users  
Reviews: 126 user | 105 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)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Robert Warwick ...
...
Mr. Jones
...
Mr. Casalsis
Porter Hall ...
Mr. Hadrian
Byron Foulger ...
Mr. Valdelle
Margaret Hayes ...
Secretary
Robert Greig ...
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
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

Preston Sturges wanted Veronica Lake from the very beginning after admiring her work in I Wanted Wings (1941). See more »

Goofs

The road numbers on the racing locomotive in the opening scene are reversed, indicating the film has been flipped. See more »

Quotes

Burrows: Good morning, sir.
Burrows: I don't like it at all, sir. Fancy dress, I take it?
John L. Sullivan: What's the matter with it?
Burrows: I have never been sympathetic to the caricaturing of the poor and needy, sir.
John L. Sullivan: Who's caricaturing?
John L. Sullivan: I'm going out on the road to find out what it's like to be poor and needy and then I'm going to make a picture about it.
Burrows: If you'll permit me to say so, sir, the subject is not an interesting one. The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous.
John L. Sullivan: But I'm doing it ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, the Paramount logo is depicted as a seal on a package wrapped in brown paper. The package is opened, revealing a book with the title of the movie. The pages are turned to show the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Grand Canyon (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Let My People Go
(uncredited)
Traditional spiritual
Played on the harmonium by Madame Sul-Te-Wan and sung
by Jess Lee Brooks and the churchgoers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Perfect Film?
4 December 2004 | by (Studio City, CA) – See all my reviews

As a TV Producer of "entertainment" shows, I make a point of watching this film at least once a year and giving DVDs of it to all who may disparage what I do.

Preston Sturges achieves the impossible in this movie: he has his cake and eats it too. He makes a perfect film - he manages to make a socially significant statement while wrapping it up in a comedy confection.

His hero, John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea - a very underestimated actor) is a

succcessful director of frivolous musicals and comedies who, one day, decides he needs to make a Capra-esque "serious"film. His studio chiefs and immediate staff are against it and point out that he is rich and privileged, what does he know about the less fortunate? Sullivan retorts with an ingenious plan:

Sullivan: "You're perfectly right...but I'll tell you what I'm going to do first: I'm going to get some old clothes and some old shoes from wardrobe and start out with ten cents in my pocket...and I'm not coming back till I know what trouble it..I'm going out on the road to find out what it's like to be poor and needy and then I'm going to make a picture about it."

Burrows(his butler): If you'll permit me to say so, sir, the subject is not an interesting one. The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous.

Nevertheless, Sullivan does it and unwittingly (and hilariously) discovers the true value comedy has in the lives of those with little else to laugh about...

It's genius. Exquisitely written, directed and acted (Sturges uses his usual ensemble plus the ever watchable Veronica Lake, even here in her most improbable disguises [I met her, professionally, in England in the 70s, she was still a class act and her "rider" demanded her drink of choice - vodka and cranberry juice).

Sullivan's Travels is a true gem of American Cinema. Ten out of ten.


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