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Sullivan's Travels (1942)

Joel McCrea , Veronica Lake , Preston Sturges  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn
  • Directors: Preston Sturges
  • Writers: Preston Sturges
  • Producers: Paul Jones
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: March 6, 2012
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006TTC5A4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,318 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Written and directed by Preston Sturges, Sullivan’s Travels is one of the greatest Hollywood satires ever made. John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) is an idealist filmmaker who decides to make a serious, socially responsible movie instead of his typical comedic fare.  Realizing that he cannot accurately direct a screen tragedy unless he lived it first, he decides to hit the road disguised as a hobo. Along the way, he meets a beautiful yet cynical wanderer (Veronica Lake) and finds himself in more trouble than he ever imagined.  Featuring a timeless message that continues to resonate with audiences today, this heartwarming masterpiece illustrates the importance of laughter in the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sturges' Travels well worth the journey March 26, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Any Preston Sturges film even the lesser ones are worth watching for their snappy dialogue and comedic sequences alone. With "Sullivan's Travels" we catch Sturges at the top of his game. Joel McCrea the everyman of the 40's turns in a terrific performance as the bright but lightweight director John Sullivan (Sully to his friends). Sully wants to make serious pictures after a career of churning out lightweight comedies. His next project "O Brother Where Art Thou" (wittily referenced in the Cohen brothers film of the same name nearly six decades later)will be a socially conscious look at the suffering of the common man. The only problem is that Sully knows absolutely nothing about suffering or hardship. Sully decides to rough it as a hobo and discovers much more than he wanted to about suffering. He meets "The Girl" (Veronica Lake lovely as ever)and discovers more about the world than he ever imagined.

Sturges fell into drama when he became ill and read about creating dramas while recooperating. His first major play "Strictly Dishonorable" became a huge Broadway hit in the 30's. As a child Sturges' mother became "friends" with Isadora Duncan and Sturges was dragged around with the two of them and had a very unconvetional upbringing nicely profiled in the original PBS Emmy winning documentary "Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer". "The Power and the Glory" Sturges first written screenplay earned him over $17,000 in the 30's against the profits of the film by producer Jesse Lasky. Sturges already had made enemies in Hollywood by becoming wildly successful as an independent writer and later director.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars VERONICA LAKE'S BIG BREAK A TREAT ON DVD April 22, 2003
By Nix Pix
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.
BOTTOM LINE: A MUST HAVE DISC FOR ANY FILM BUFF!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Criterion Transfer of a Classic July 30, 2004
Format:DVD
Sullivan's Travels is one of a group of comedy classics created by Preston Sturges during the early to mid-forties, each and every one a gem. Everyone will have a favourite (my personal weak spot is The Lady Eve) but Sullivan's Travels grows in my affections with every viewing. It is always remarkable to witness how influential the movie is, particularly, but not exclusively, in the works of the Coen brothers. Joel McRae is playing the director who goes looking for the underbelly of America and along the way he finds Veronica Lake. She could not be equaled, from the first moment her famous look is seen in the film until her laughter at the end. She looked like a smoldering noir femme fatale and spoke and acted like a screwball comedienne. It was a style not suited for many pictures but it was a perfect match for Preston Sturges in this one and she does very well by him and vice versa. The change in the movie from comedy to pathos, troubing and too abrupt for some viewers, is beautifully handled and the church sequence with the prisoners and the black parishioners is astonishing and handled with great cinematic skill. Criterion must also be congratulated, again, for the wonderful extras, particularly the documentary on Sturges.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Preston, Where Art Thou? September 13, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
I, like many others of my generation I suspect, first came to know of writer/director Preston Sturges' "Sullivan's Travels" via its association with the Coen Brothers' "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" The latter movie took its name from a film-within-the-film from the former. John L. Sullivan, a director of successful lowbrow comedies, unhappy with his lofty lot in life, itches to make a socially conscious drama about poverty called... wait for it... "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" When it's pointed out that Sullivan, borne from the lap of luxury, could not possibly know the first thing about being poor, he decides to raid the movie studio's costume department for a hobo's outfit, and ride the rails in order to gain some life experience.
From these rather high concept beginnings, one would expect to find a straightforward comedy wherein our hero comes to realize that the poor are people too. That movie is here, to be sure, but it's not presented in any conventional manner. In fact, that part of the story is basically covered within the first thirty minutes. Which leaves the discerning audience member, one who's been paying attention all along and is well-versed in cinematic narrative convention, wondering, "Where do we go from here?" It is to Sturges' ultimate credit that this question is answered in due time and with tremendous skill.
The film is mostly a pure comedy, able to dabble in all different kinds of humour, indulging in farce, screwball, verbal wit, and light romance. But Sturges proves a master at mixing tones, as he is also able to dip a toe into harsh drama, straight social commentary, suspense thriller, and bold satire. It's one of the most versatile films I know, in that it takes a bite from every dish at the buffet, allowing them all to digest together perfectly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent comedy with a strong message
Preston Sturges' ode to the redeeming value of comedy. The film is quite funny in parts, but also has stretches of genuine pathos. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Doewhle
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie
I saw only the end of this 1941 black and white movie on tv channel called Turners Classic Movies. Wanted to see beginning so rented for a few dollars in line and saw instantly on... Read more
Published 1 month ago by JOY DE LARA
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie, just get through the first few minutes
The Cohen brother's movie "O brother where art Thou" is based on this movie. The scene in the Negro Church is so foreword thinking it is hard to believe it was filmed in... Read more
Published 1 month ago by George in San Diego
5.0 out of 5 stars a departure for sturges
but such an excellent character study. sort of a midlife crisis antidote. I understand it is somewhat autobiographical for sturges who always wanted to do something more... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Robert G. Devetski
5.0 out of 5 stars Sullivan's Travels
I bought this because it's one of the American Film Institute's (AFI) "Top 100" of all-time films per their survey of 2007. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Glenn R. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comedy Classic
One of the great screwball comedies of the 1940s directed by a master of the genre and showing off the talents of two underrated stars.
Published 4 months ago by William P. Pearce
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this
Great movie! If you are a film buff you will be able to see the films it influenced. Great dramatic comedy for it's time.
Published 4 months ago by Jeremy Kingsbury
5.0 out of 5 stars Offbeat, Funny, Romantic, Spiritual, Real!
This oldie is a TRUE GEM - my friend and I watched this three times within the same week -- and every viewing the movie became BETTER than the viewing before! Read more
Published 4 months ago by American
5.0 out of 5 stars Like it
Sort of a play on an older fairy tale about a world traveler, though this might be missed by many of the viewers.
Published 5 months ago by edward l batesla
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hollywood Cinema
If you enjoy Classical Hollywood Cinema of the thirties and forties, you will enjoy this light drama, considered to be one of the best movies of that era.
Published 5 months ago by Lindsay Johnson
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