7.9/10
23,689
158 user 107 critic

Sullivan's Travels (1941)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Comedy, Drama | 6 February 1942 (USA)
Trailer
1:51 | Trailer
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:

Veronica Lake's on the take. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jerry Seinfeld, while on Norm MacDonald Live, said for what it's about, Sullivan's Travels is his favorite movie while The Graduate is his favorite to watch. 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

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 for the...
[...]
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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 »

Connections

Referenced in Amos & Andrew (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Spring Song
(1844) (uncredited)
Written by Felix Mendelssohn
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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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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