When the co-workers of an ambitious clerk trick him into thinking he has won $25,000 in a slogan contest, he begins to use the money to fulfill his dreams. What will happen when the ruse is discovered?
Sullivan is a successful, spoiled, and naive director of fluff films, with a heart-o-gold, who decides he wants to make a film about the troubles of the downtrodden poor. Much to the chagrin of his producers, he sets off in tramp's clothing with a single dime in his pocket to experience poverty first-hand, and gets some reality shock.Written by
Bob Doolittle <Bob.Doolittle@east.sun.com>
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 "...in 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." See more »
When Sullivan and The Girl jump off the train, each loses their hat. However, in the next shot, when both are on the ground, The Girl's hat is on her head. See more »
You know, the nice thing about buying food for a man is that you don't have to listen to his jokes. Just think, if you were some big shot like a casting director or something, I'd be staring into your bridgework saying 'Yes, Mr. Smearcase. No, Mr. Smearcase. Not really, Mr. Smearcase! Oh, Mr. Smearcase, that's my knee!' Give Mr. Smearcase another cup of coffee. Make it two. Want a piece of pie?
John L. Sullivan:
No thanks, kid.
Why, Mr. Smearcase, aren't you getting a little familiar?
See more »
In the opening credits, the Paramount logo is depicted as a seal on a package wrapped in brown paper. The package is opened, revealing a book with the title of the movie. The pages are turned to show the credits. See more »
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played as part of the score when Sullivan starts his experiment
Reprised when he starts a second time See more »
A celebration of the healing power of comedy
As a professional circus clown for twenty years,I think that Sullivan's Travels is the best, most lucid, explanation of what comedy is all about that has ever been made. Sure it's hokey, corny, contrived, and meandering. But so is all great comedy, from Shakespeare to Seinfeld! If you want your comedy to be tightly constructed, meaningful, unambiguous, and logical, then you do not want comedy at all -- you want some stuffy college professor's idea of What is Comedy for a term paper.
The glorious truth is that you cannot domesticate great comedy. It occurs on no regular basis, from no reliable source, and is accountable to no one for what it says and does. Preston Sturges wanted to make that point in Sullivans Travels and he does so exceedingly well with everything from slapstick frolics in the land cruiser to fleas in the bed to hectoring soliloquies about poverty from the butler.
Ten years before Chaplin tried to explain the same thing in his movie Limelight, Sturges tells a tale meant to both hearten and cozen us. It heartens us to know that a cynical, moneygrubbing place like Hollywood will continue to spin out comedies, because they make money. And it cozens us into thinking there is something magical about comedians. Anyone who has ever actually known or been married to a professional funnyperson knows they are by turns grumpy, lazy, tempermental, stubborn, and always insecure. Not the life of the party. But so what? They're clowns, god bless 'em, and that's all that counts.
You'll never understand the craft of humor if you don't watch, and love, Preston Sturges Sullivan's Travels!
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