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.
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A sublime balance of comedic modes: wisecracks, pratfalls and satiric asides, crafted with zest, zip and a minimum of exposition before the affecting second-half boils off the sugar. The morality is worn lightly, the romance touching and the playing spot-on: the epitome of lick, spit and polish - with a backbone of decency too. The confounding of the faux Hollywood travel with the darker second journey is superb.
The great irony of "Sullivan's Travels" is that it is, in many ways, a very serious film about the importance of comedy. It's an irony I can imagine Sturges embracing and delighting in, on and off-screen.
Essential cinema. Masterful satirical achievement that concerns a filmmaker tired of making 'fluff' who sets to the road as a tramp to discover truth, hunger and pain to better make an 'important' film. The truth he eventually uncovers comes as a surprise to him. Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake were never better in a film full of wonderful performances and memorable moments throughout.
"Desire" list: Joel McCrea 2. In one of Preston Sturges smartest and sharping comedies, essay with bitter laughter of a Marxist-Chaplin-ish situation, McCrea reaches one of his peaks with this ambivalent millionaire who discovers in the vagrancy the essence of a breath that money did not allow him to know, namely, the human dignity. Irresistible lesson, made by an actor of the most reliable fineness.
A great idea that fails in the execution. McCrea is far too earnest and naive to carry the comedy or the sentiment. There is some good dialogue and an interesting third act, but the plotting and pacing is stiff and jagged. None of Sullivan's attempts to reach the bottom have any hope of succeeding, and while that may be the point, it makes for a dull first two acts. He should have made O Brother, Where Art Thou.
The scene where the prisoners are brought in to watch a movie at the local church sums up everything you need to know about this movie. Yes, it is hilarious and displays Sturges' writing at its best. But the message to take away from it almost makes you feel good for finding such pleasure in something as simple as the two-hour diversion that a movie ultimately is at its most basic level.
A film that should be seen by all the apprentice critics swimming in the dark waters of this site. The first scene between Sullivan and his producers makes it clearer than any 400 pages book why American audience considers cinema as pure entertainment while it is considered as an art in Europe. With the exception of all those who know theauteurs of course. Veronica Lake is gorgeous in pyjama. Masterpiece.
Screwball comedy classic from writer-director Preston Sturges is as smart, lively, and original as ever. Fast-paced with great characters and snappy dialogue, and some surprisingly effective dark visuals and an authentic atmosphere of Depression Era America - as well as a number of classic comedy moments. Clearly an influence - on several levels - on the films of the Coen Brothers.