A Hollywood director, John L Sullivan, sets out to experience life as a poor, homeless person in order to gain relevant life experience for his next movie.

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:

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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Preston Sturges: Studio director on the set of The Girl's period movie. He is seen in the background when she reads the newspaper and throws up her hands in delight. See more »

Goofs

When Sullivan and The Girl are on and off the train, the sound and volume of the train going over the railroad tracks never change, indicating that the Sound Effects or Foley artist is looping the sound of the train tracks. 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 getting, I ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The Paramount logo appears as a seal on a package.

The package is opened to reveal a book with the film title on it and the opening credits appear on pages in the book. 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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User Reviews

A tribute to the art of comedy
15 September 2006 | by Camera-ObscuraSee 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


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sullivan's Travels See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$689,665 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,249
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV premiere)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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