Movie. Sullivan’s Travels, 1941.

Posted by T on December 12, 2006
By Title, Movies

A Preston Sturges comedy. It opens with a dark scene of two men fighting to the death on a roaring train. It turns out they represent Labor and Capital allegorically. The rest of the movie is about the wandering and return of Sullivan, a successful movie producer that gets a sudden resolve to travel in the world like a bum in order to learn about life as it is without the prop of money. Eventually he is locked up for a crime he didn’t commit and packed off with no hope of getting his story out– until he comes up with a very clever idea indeed.

This is the movie that inspired the Coen brothers’ Oh Brother where art thou?

The tension between the haves and have-nots is not resolved, other than that Sullivan learns from the have-nots that comedy is everything. I find the message a bit pompous, even though it tries to be the opposite. The manner of both embracing and rejecting the lower class is a bit cynical I think. It’s not unworthy of a single viewing however when the supply of better ones has run dry.


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