movie film review | chris tookey

Sullivan's Travels

Paramount Pictures - all rights reserved
  Sullivan's Travels Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
9.71 /10
Joel McCrea , Veronica Lake , Robert Warwick
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Directed by: Preston Sturges
Written by: Preston Sturges

Released: 1941
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 90

A Hollywood director (Joel McCrea) tires of making mindless entertainment, such as Ants in Your Pants of 1939, in a war-devastated world. He decides to make a movie with social significance, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and conduct some field research into poverty.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Scripted, directed and acted with panache, this remains one of the great Hollywood comedies, although the targets for its satire have dated. Sturges was always at his best when debunking pomposity and pretentiousness, and here he puts the boot into the "social cinema" of the 1930s.

The early scenes contain delightful sideswipes at tinseltown superficiality, but the tone rapidly darkens, and the narrative grips. With the help of some clever, but not over-contrived narrative twists, Sturges makes his hero suffer alongside ordinary Americans, and concludes that what the most people really want from the movies is escapism, not instruction. Sturges's film thus becomes his personal apologia for peddling escapism - and, by extension, Hollywood's.

Such a film could easily have been glib and cynical, but Sturges blends social melodrama with romantic comedy so skilfully that he manages surreptitiously to say a surprising amount about the state of wartime America, as well as Hollywood.

Preston Sturges on the film: "The result of an urge, an urge to tell some of my fellow playwrights that they were getting a little too deep-dish and to leave the preaching to the preachers."

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