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Sullivans Travels

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn
  • Directors: Preston Sturges
  • Writers: Preston Sturges
  • Producers: Preston Sturges, Buddy G. DeSylva, Paul Jones
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JH9C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,325 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

This masterpiece by Preston Sturges is perhaps the finest movie-about-a-movie ever made. Hollywood director Joel McCrea, tired of churning out lightweight comedies, decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou-a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, he hits the road as a hobo. He finds the lovely Veronica Lake-and more trouble than he ever dreamed of.

Special Features

This Criterion Collection DVD uses filmmaker Preston Sturges's best-known film as a springboard to assess the filmmaker's life. For the film itself, there's a sparkling transfer of the comedy and some cagey commentary by modern-day humorists Christopher Guest and Michael McKean (among others). There's just the right number of production stills, backstage photos, publicity materials, and some intriguing storyboards and blueprints of how the film was shot. Even better is the material on Sturges himself. Included are radio segments of Sturges reciting poetry, singing songs, and interviewing Hedda Hopper--the kind of stuff that falls through the cracks on many definitive DVDs. A new interview with Sturges's last wife, Sandy, fills in some key points of the filmmaker's later years. Yet the crown jewel of this disc is the 76-minute documentary that won an Emmy for writer-critic Todd McCarthy (Visions of Light). "Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer" is an entertaining tale of Sturges's intriguing life and how he redefined, forever, the role of the screenwriter in Hollywood. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
Directed by Preston Sturges in 1941, this classic screwball comedy with a message is definitely one worth watching. The film opens with famous Hollywood director, John Sullivan, trying to persuade his bosses to let him make a picture about poverty, O Brother, Where Are Thou? His producers proceed to ridicule him about being privileged and that he knows nothing about troubles. They tell him how they had to grow up selling newspapers to get through college and having to support a widowed mother and three sisters and two brothers. Sullivan realizes they have a point and decides to set out to find some trouble. Of course, as soon as Sullivan leaves the office, the bosses confess they were lying about their troubles, adding a bit of comic relief.
Since the bosses feel it would be a liability to them if Sullivan were to travel all alone, they arrange for him to have an entourage following him, writing stories about his travels, and photographing his escapades. Sullivan starts out like a hobo walking alone on the side of the road. A young boy of 13 pulls up and offers him a ride. What next ensues is perhaps the funniest scene in the entire movie. The 13 year old wants to be a tank driver so he sets off like mad, driving insanely fast and wildly out of control. The entourage that has been following Sullivan in a massive bus tries desperately to keep up, hurdling its occupants all over the place. Most funny is the cook who ends up with his head sticking out of the roof of the bus and then falls back down to the floor and gets smacked on the head by the door of the oven. Then a bowl of what appears to be pancake batter falls on his head and he is a royal mess.
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Format: DVD
"Sullivan's Travels" tells the story of director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea), who is very famous thanks to his mainstream comedy movies. But now he is tired of making shallow comedies, and decides to start a career of more serious movies. However, Sullivan thinks that because during all his life he has enjoyed special privileges, he doesn't actually know what is the suffering, and he is unable of make a serious social statement in his upcoming film.
So he now decides to hit the road, disguised as a tramp, and live in those conditions for a few months, and to experiment in his own flesh the lack of luxuries. In the road he meets "The Girl" (Veronica Lake), an unemployed actress who knows what is to live in those conditions, so now she decides to help him with his experiment. However, not everything is going to be that easy, because in their adventure they are going to find several obstacles that could make difficult to complete Sullivan's movie.
"Sullivan's Travels" is a very amusing movie, the director Preston Sturges did a good job, he created scenes where the comedy and the drama are mixed together with satisfying results. The movie has interesting situations, because it has an intelligent story and good performances. Also, "Sullivan's Travels" benefits with the presence of the elegant Veronica Lake
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Format: DVD
One of the great screen comedies, and one in a string of absolutely brilliant comedies that Preston Sturges made in the space of only a few years, unquestionably the hottest streak any comedy director has ever gone on in a short period of time. This film contains a great deal more slapstick than his other films, and a great deal more social satire. Sturges doesn't quite mean it as a "message" picture, but in the end it does have overtones of an apologia pro vita sua as a comedy director. Sturges wants to say that he is a comedy director, and he isn't going to apologize for it, because making people laugh in hard times is one of the highest functions of art.
SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS is one of two superb comedies that Joel McCrea made with Sturges, the other being the equally outstanding THE PALM BEACH STORY. As most are aware, McCrea plays director John L. Sullivan, who has made his mark in Hollywood directing lightweight comedies, such as the "Ants in Your Pants" series. But now he wants to make a serious, "meaningful" film: O Brother! Where Art Thou? The studio head points out that Sullivan knows nothing about real life, and conceding his point without giving up his intentions, Sullivan decides to hit the road and live as a hobo in order to discover real life.
Like nearly all Sturges films (at least before his rapid and dramatic decline in late 1944), this film features an absolutely outstanding cast. His best films seem to feature a cast with literally dozens of great character actors, and this is no exception. Most of the Sturges regulars are here, like William Demarest and Robert Warwick, along with a host of others whose faces will be familiar to any Sturges fan, even if the names are not.
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Format: DVD
After a string of B-movies, legendary cool babe, Veronica Lake graduated to the big time in this screwball message picture by director, Preston Sturges. Actor, Joel McCrea is John L. Sullivan, a director of frothy film comedies who desires to make a truly gritty motion picture about the "suffering of humanity". One problem - he doesn't know the first thing about suffrage, having been born with a silver spoon and thrust into a lucrative career with money to burn. So what's a desperate rich guy to do? He decides to impersonate a hobo and ride the rails in search of 'real' life. He finds Veronica Lake and a heap of trouble instead.
For once - a Criterion disc I can actually recommend on every level. First, the DVD quality of this classic film is bar none the most outstanding effort from Criterion thus far. The gray scale is superbly balanced. Blacks are black. Contrast and shadow levels are amazing. Fine details are well represented. There is some minor edge enhancement and aliasing, but it is so slight and infrequent that I really shouldn't be mentioning it at all. There's barely any digital or film grain for a smooth, thoroughly captivating visual presentation. The audio is mono but cleaned up in such a way that one hardly notices its dated shortcomings.
AT LAST - as an extra, Criterion gives us "Preston Sturges: A Life" a thoroughly engrossing, in-depth, full fledged documentary on the man, the making of this movie, as well as a time line documenting Sturges' many other films with a multitude of background material and snippets from each of the movies in Sturges' canon. The documentary is so good, you'll want to watch it twice. Yes, there's also an audio commentary and the usual Lux Radio junket that accompanies most Criterion classic titles. But the documentary is what counts here.
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