Sullivan's Travels

Introduction

Sullivan's Travels is a 1941 American comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges. It is a satire about Hollywood's top director of comedies, played by Joel McCrea, who longs to make a socially relevant drama, but eventually learns that creating laughter is his greatest contribution to society. The film features one of Veronica Lake's first leading roles. The title is a reference to Gulliver's Travels, the famous novel by satirist Jonathan Swift about another journey of self-discovery.

Sullivan's Travels received mixed critical reception, varying from the New York Times calling it "the most brilliant picture yet this year", praising Sturges's mix of escapist fun with underlying significance, and naming it as one of the ten best films of 1941 to The Hollywood Reporter claiming it lacked the "down to earth quality and sincerity which made [Sturges's] other three pictures of 1941 – The Great McGinty, The Lady Eve, and Christmas in July – "a joy to behold".

Over time, the film's reputation has improved tremendously, being described by media historian Hal Erickson as a "classic", "one of the finest movies about movies ever made" and a "masterpiece".[3] In 1990, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."


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