I'm sure that all fans of Sturges would closely agree, but whereas "Sullivan's Travels" is seen by some as possible the best of the bunch, that's not MY personal feeling. To me, this is a movie with much to savour in the wonderful characters and dialogue, but there are also elements with which I am not so comfortable.
The big turning point of the movie is when Sullivan is declared dead and ends up in a convict barracks sentenced to six years hard labour. I find it impossible to disregard the big problem with the plot point that leads to Sullivan being declared dead... The tramp who robs Sullivan of his money is run down by a train and mistaken for Sullivan. Why??? Because he is the same tramp that stole Sullivan's boots earlier in the movie, which had Sullivan's ID card in them.
Too much of a coincidence!! And in the film it is not even clear that it is the same tramp. The original shooting script does make that clear, but it must have been too difficult to convey that on screen in scenes that take place at night in an dark train-yard. I'm sorry... but that kind of problem with the narrative distracts me from enjoying a film.
Also - and this my main bugbear - the combination of wild witty comedy with downbeat drama doesn't fit my idea of entertainment. I can hardly stand to watch the scenes showing the hard life of tramps and other homeless, many of whom are grotesques. I start to wonder who all these extras are. Where do they find people who look like that? Are they actors pretending to be tramps, or from a modelling agency... or what? You can tell that these are not the thoughts of somebody absorbed by the story being told on screen.
Give me the wild fantasy of "The Palm Beach Story" or the witty romance of "The Lady Eve" any day!