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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.

Director:

Preston Sturges

Writer:

Preston Sturges
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joel McCrea ... John L. Sullivan
Veronica Lake ... The Girl
Robert Warwick ... Mr. LeBrand
William Demarest ... Mr. Jones
Franklin Pangborn ... 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
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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

Taglines:

Veronica Lake's on the take. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sullivans Reisen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$689,665 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,507,000, 31 December 1941
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV premiere)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Not only was Veronica Lake pregnant during the making of this movie, she was between six and eight months pregnant. Production took place from June 12 to July 22, 1941, and her daughter Elaine Detlie was born on August 21, 1941. The only other people involved in the production who knew of her condition were the costume designer, Edith Head, and Preston Sturges' then-wife, Louise. Head designed costumes to hide the condition. Lake was afraid that she would not be allowed to make the film if her advanced state of pregnancy was revealed, owing to the physical demands of the role. 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

John L. Sullivan: Of course I'm just a minor employee here, Mr. LeBrand...
LeBrand: He's starting that one again.
John L. Sullivan: I wanted to make you something outstanding... something you could be proud of, something that would realize the potentialities of film... as the sociological and artistic medium that it is. With a little sex in it. Something like...
Hadrian: Something like Capra. I know.
John L. Sullivan: What's the matter with Capra?
LeBrand: Look, you want to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Hadrian: Now, wait a minute!
LeBrand: Then go ahead and make it! For what you're ...
[...]
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 The Ladykillers (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Light Cavalry Overture
Written by Franz von Suppé (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Please put in a good word with Lubitsch!
7 April 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

"Sullivan's Travels" is one of the best films that came out of Hollywood in 1941. Preston Sturges showed he was an original with this story about self-discovery for a man that has a different view of the world. In a way, this is a satire about the movie industry.

Hollywood in the early years, wouldn't touch any project that it deemed non commercial. Which is why when John Sullivan, a successful director of film comedies decides to do a movie based on a serious book, the studio thinks he must be going crazy. Why would this director want to make the movie going public think? It was a preposterous notion then, as well as today, when basically all movies making any points are independently produced. After all, the industry wants everyone to have a great time, be entertained, and not make them think about at all.

John Sullivan gets much more than what he bargained for when he decides to take to the back roads of the country, dressed as a hobo and with only ten cents in his pocket. The first check on reality comes when he meets the kind girl at the road side diner. He is hungry, but what can one get for a dime? This girl, who has had it trying to make a name in the movies, orders ham and eggs for him, no strings attached. If there is a more kindred soul than this young woman who wants nothing in return, we haven't met her yet.

Sully and the girl go back on the road where they witness the reality of America's indigents traveling back and forth in empty cattle cars all over the country in search of jobs, or perhaps a better living. Sullivan ultimately wants to give money anonymously to the poor people he has met, but he meets with disaster and ends up in jail, the victim of circumstantial evidence and he is sent to jail. One night Sully discovers the great mystery about the allure of the pictures: It's the laughter stupid! Sullivan realizes how far off the mark he has been in trying to bring drama to the masses.

Joel McCrea makes a fantastic Sullivan. This under estimated man was a great comedian, as well as an actor that is always believable. The whole reason for watching this movie is Mr. McCrea's performance. His chemistry with the ravishingly beautiful and young Veronica Lake is one of the best things in the film. Both these actors, under Mr. Sturges' direction do their best work on screen. Sturges makes fun at his own expense when the girl asks Sully if he can introduce her to the great Hollywood director, Ernst Lubitsch. Mr. McCrea and Ms. Lake seem to be having a fun time together.

Mr. Sturges always surrounded himself with a group of actors that one sees in his movies. Robert Greig, Eric Blore, William Demarest, and the rest of the cast contribute to make this a winning comedy. The best scene that involves most of these actors happen at the beginning of the film when they are chasing Sullivan in the R.V. and things inside the trailer begin falling all over the place. That was priceless movie making.

Preston Sturges combines a social commentary with comedy in this brilliant film that is a tribute to his genius.


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