Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Starring: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, Eric Blore, Robert Greig
Directed by: Preston Sturges
Released by: Paramount Pictures
Synopsis: Filmmaker Joel Sullivan (Joel McCrea) wishes to make a film with social relevance and a deep message. He realizes, however, that due to his upbringing he doesn't understand what it means to be in trouble. He embarks on a road trip in hopes of learning what it means to be a guy in trouble. Along the way he meets a girl (Veronica Lake) who decides to join him as a homeless couple and learn about the hardships of life.
Review: Sullivan's Travels is a film that mirrors Sullivan's own goal: to deliver a film with a message. But instead of being serious, dramatic and heavy handed Sullivan's Travel is a fun, funny and heartwarming tale that celebrates both our sense of humor and the fighting nature of the human spirit.
Joel McCrea's Sullivan is a great character. He isn't the stereotype of the pretentious filmmaker that wants to create a deep film. He instead comes off as an earnest guy who just wants to make a special film and is willing to go through any lengths to give his film substance. He is surprisingly street smart without being a cliched wise guy.
The rest of the characters are also quite good. Veronica Lake as the girl does a pretty good job of providing moral support to Sullivan as well as giving him a reason to move on with his journey. Speaking of the journey, it is one filled with many adventures, hardships and wonderful characters. My personal favorite is the hot rod ride Sullivan embarks on with a 13 year old kid just as he is starting his trip.
There are also some very clever and even inventive plot twists that tie perfectly to the overall narrative. I won't spoil them for you, of course. But you'll be amazed at how clever the writers were when handling this film.
My one and only complaint with the movie is that Sullivan's realization happens near the end of the film instead of throughout his adventures. But I guess this was done intentionally, to say that even when you have problems, there's a lot of worse things to you can experience in your own journey.
Overall, Sullivan's Travel is a great feel good film with a very strong message: no matter how hard our lives may be, it is always important to have a great sense of humor about it.
Rating: 4 filmstrips out of 5