8.1/10
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Sullivan's Travels (1941)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Comedy, Drama | 6 February 1942 (USA)
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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mr. Jones
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Mr. Casalsis
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Mr. Valdelle
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Secretary
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Sullivan's Valet
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The Doctor
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Cameraman
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Radio Man
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Colored Chef (as Charles Moore)
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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

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The Creator of "Lady Eve" brings you his latest and most lilting laugh-fest! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

6 February 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sullivans Reisen  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$689,665 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV premiere)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John L. Sullivan plans to make a movie entitled "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" - a title borrowed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for their 2000 film. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Sullivan is in bed with a cold the girl sits next to him on the bed, she shifts between being at higher level with him and then same level as him from shot to shot. (This happens more than once in same scene.) See more »

Quotes

John L. Sullivan: [to the girl] Why don't you go back to the car? You look as much like a boy as Mae West.
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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 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Go to Hell (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Spring Song
(1844) (uncredited)
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played as part of the score when Sullivan starts his experiment
Reprised when he starts a second time
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Perfect Film?
4 December 2004 | by 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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