Sullivan's Travels Overview:

Sullivan's Travels (1941) was a Comedy - Adventure Film directed by Preston Sturges and produced by Preston Sturges and Paul Jones.


Perhaps the greatest of Sturges's many great comedies, this balances a gimlet-eyed satire of Hollywood with an unsentimental affirmation of the movies' ability to lift people from their daily lives. When director McCrea tires of the witless comedies for which he has a natural talent, he determines to illustrate on-screen the suffering of the American people in their darkest hour. The studio bosses correctly remind him that he knows nothing about suffering, so McCrea sets out on a mission to acquire firsthand experience of real people's lives. In his first attempt, the studio flacks and his gentleman's gentleman (Blore, in a typically hilarious performance) make a sham of his sincerity, though he hooks up with waitress and aspiring actress Lake. But on his next outing, McCrea loses everything: his money, his name, his memory, and his freedom when he's given the bum's rush by a railroad cop. But in the work camp, McCrea and his hardened, beaten-down companions revel in a Mickey Mouse cartoon, and the director resolves to find a way back to his calling. The script is fast, twisty, and funny, and Sturges's usual supporting characters are magnificent.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


Sullivan's Travels was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1990.

BlogHub Articles:

1001 Classic Movies: Sullivan's Travels

By Amanda Garrett on Jan 23, 2017 From Old Hollywood Films

Sullivan's Travels (1942), starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake, is one of the 1001 classic movies you should see. Each Monday, I'm going to recommend a classic movie you should see (for the reasons behind the 1001 series and reviews of earlier films covered go here). January's theme is movies ... Read full article

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Quotes from

Policeman at Beverly Hills station: How does the girl fit into the picture?
John L. Sullivan: There's always a girl in the picture. What's the matter, don't you go to the movies?

John L. Sullivan: There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan.

The Girl: I liked you better as a bum.
John L. Sullivan: I can't help what kind of people you like.

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Facts about

Reportedly, Preston Sturges got the idea for the movie from stories of John Garfield living the life of a hobo, riding freight trains and hitchhiking his way cross-country for a short period in the 1930s.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #61 Greatest Movie of All Time. It was the first inclusion of this film on the list.
The film's opening dedication, "To the memory of those who made us laugh: the motley mountebanks, the clowns, the buffoons, in all times and nations, whose efforts have lightened our burden a little, this picture is affectionately dedicated." with the added phrase " this cockeyed caravan..." was initially to be spoken by Joel McCrea in an epilogue as if it was to be the prologue for the comedy he intended to make. In the original script the prologue Preston Sturges initially wrote was, "This is the story of a man who wanted to wash an elephant. The elephant darn near ruined him."
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National Film Registry

Sullivan's Travels

Released 1941
Inducted 1990

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Also directed by Preston Sturges

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Also produced by Preston Sturges

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