Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Movie You Might Have Missed #52: Sullivan's Travels

It's been 11 years since I began this series highlighting movies I wished more people knew about. I'm rerunning it from the beginning because I still think these are movies you might have missed.

"Nothing is going to stop me. I'm going to find out how it feels to be in trouble. Without friends, without credit, without checkbook, without name. Alone."

Oooo, la la!
How is this for a suggestive poster?

 Preston Sturgis' comedy is all about the need for humor in hard times.

A pampered movie director feels that the depression going on calls for serious, hard-hitting movies that explain the current social and economic problems to the public. His producers tell him, au contraire, hard times call for light-hearted movies to take your mind off your troubles.

To prove them wrong and experience those hard times, the director disguises himself as a hobo and takes to the road. After several botched attempts, during one of which he meets Veronica Lake as the romantic interest, he accomplishes his goal accidentally and better than he ever would have thought.

At this point the movie takes a darker turn but this is when it is most effective. Especially touching is the scene in the church where the poor black congregation and convicts from a local work farm are laughing at Pluto and Mickey Mouse.

Highly recommended although Preston Sturgis is no Frank Capra, however much he wants to be (which is cleverly mentioned early in the movie). Also it was fun to see where "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" came from, which was used by the Coen Brothers in the movie of the same name.

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