Sullivan's Travels

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100%

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Total Count: 34

89%

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User Ratings: 8,591

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Movie Info

Successful movie director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea), convinced he won't be able to film his ambitious masterpiece until he has suffered, dons a hobo disguise and sets off on a journey, aiming to "know trouble" first-hand. When all he finds is a train ride back to Hollywood and a beautiful blonde companion (Veronica Lake), he redoubles his efforts, managing to land himself in more trouble than he bargained for when he loses his memory and ends up a prisoner on a chain gang.

Cast & Crew

Joel McCrea
John L. Sullivan
Porter Hall
Mr. Hadrian
Byron Foulger
Mr. Johnny Valdelle
Robert Greig
Burrows, Sullivan's Butler
Eric Blore
Sullivan's Valet
Preston Sturges
Screenwriter
Buddy G. DeSylva
Executive Producer
Charles Bradshaw
Original Music
Leo Shuken
Original Music
John F. Seitz
Cinematographer
Robert Mayo
Casting
Hans Dreier
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Sullivan's Travels

Critic Reviews for Sullivan's Travels

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (34)

Audience Reviews for Sullivan's Travels

  • Jun 03, 2016
    Sullivan's Travels strikes many poses and excels whether operating as a fast paced comedy or tender, buddy-road flick.
    Jeff L Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2014
    This clichéd American comedy written and directed by Preston Sturges is trying to be too many things at once. It is classified as a comedy, has few elements of a drama and adventure, but mainly wants to be a satire about a movie director, played by Joel McCrea, who longs to make a socially relevant drama! The title is supposed to be a reference to Gulliver's Travels, the famous novel by Jonathan Swift about another satirical journey of self-discovery. I am not as impressed as most of the people who saw this movie, but it must be significant when it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The story of John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea), a popular young Hollywood director fresh from a string of very profitable, but shallow comedies, tells his studio boss, Mr. Lebrand (Robert Warwick), that he is dissatisfied and wants his next project to be a serious exploration of the plight of the downtrodden, to be based on the socially-conscious novel O Brother, Where Art Thou? by Sinclair Beckstein. Of course, Lebrand prefers that he directs lucrative comedy instead. Idealistic Sullivan refuses to give in, and decides to go out in the world to "know trouble" first-hand as a tramp so he can return and make a film that truly depicts the sorrows of humanity. People close to him openly question the wisdom of his plan. With only 10 cents in his pocket, Sullivan dresses as a hobo and takes to the road. However, no matter how hard he tries, somehow he always ends up back in Hollywood. Luckily, in time of trouble, he meets a young failed actress (Veronica Lake, credited only as "The Girl") who had enough of Hollywood is contemplating quitting the business... I understand why Sullivan's Travels was not as immediately successful at the box office as earlier Sturges films such as The Great McGinty and The Lady Eve, and also received a mixed critical reception - it is clearly divided into separate parts which I call the Yo-yo story (which helps the character to feel like a yo-yo, going back to the riches and then back to the street). At the time the reputation of the movie wasn't great and my biggest complaint even now is that lacks down to earth quality and sincerity which made the director's other three pictures a really enjoyable experience. But, it is good for relaxation and entertainment without too much thinking!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 07, 2014
    Its an interesting argument for comedy as the best form of escapism, especially since the film is anything but escapist. That finale is quite touching.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 10, 2013
    A wealthy hollywood director gets more than he bargained for when he goes out looking for "trouble" so as to better identify with the common man (and make a better film dramatizing their plight). The director's name is Sullivan (Joel McCrea), and he is more known for goofy slapstick than dramatic human interest. He believes himself to be a noble pursuer of truth and justice, but as his butler Burrows points out, dressing up as a bum and hoboing around is something "only the morbid rich would find glamorous". At first, the studio is intent on following him around (in a giant bus, no less) to document this adventure, but he quickly loses them after making a deal to meet up with them later. Not long after, he's taken in by a girl (Veronica Lake) who buys him a ham-and-egg breakfast as she's on her way east, back home. Sullivan is attracted to her and wants to make a movie with her, only he's still trying to maintain his incognito status, so as a compromise, he goes home and steals his own car so as to give her a ride to whereever she wants to go ("Chicago", she says). After she discovers his ruse, the girl decides to go along with him on his adventure ("How can I be alone if you're with me?" he asks, but to no avail), and the two delve right into the seedy underbelly of America's misfortunes. Riding the rails, sleeping in flophouses, looking for handouts, as if some great and noble purpose could be distilled from abject misery. But as with other martyrs, that nobility is never pure, as they could escape their condition at anytime they so choose, he's never really down and out, he still has his millions waiting for him at home, and so the deception is never fully realized as he knows who he is. Ah, but after he goes back to being Sullivan, and he's clunked over the head and robbed by a hobo and then thrown onto a freight train, well only then does he come to realize the nature of being lowly and without friends. Sullivan comes to realize the irony of socially conscious films is that they do nothing for the people they purport to defend, that watching a film doesn't change anyone's plight. The best a film can hope to do for the lowest rungs of our society is take away the burden of life for a little while, take a person somewhere they've never been before, let them laugh and enjoy themselves, even if it's just for a little while. Throwing their poverty back up in their faces doesn't help them, not even a little bit.
    Devon B Super Reviewer

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