Friday, October 11, 2013

Comic Relief: Sullivan's Travels

Sometimes my husband rolls his eyes at my movie selections, but submits to sitting through films he hasn't heard of. Such was the case when Sullivan's Travels (1941) arrived from Netflix. To tell the truth, I wasn't sure what we were in for either. It was highly recommended by someone in the film industry, who said it was hilarious, but that doesn't mean anything... I was also told a certain Chinese film was comedy and ended up crying through the hard-luck tear jerker.

So with some skeptical hesitation we watched the movie, which is now a favorite.

The character, John Sullivan (Joel McCrea), is a director of comedy films, but he wants to do a "serious" film for a change, something about poverty and hardship. His producers, thinking to discourage him from veering from his proven successful path, convince Sullivan that he hasn't experienced enough trouble in his life to create anything of a serious nature. Sullivan agrees, and decides to dress as a hobo and hit the road to find adversity.

Worried about the safety of their money-producing director, the producers decide to send an entourage to follow Sullivan, as well as cash in on his story. Here's that scene:

And here's how Sullivan tries to ditch the entourage:

I love when after the hair raising go-cart ride, Sullivan tells the kid, "Drive careful," to which the boy responds, "You know me!"

The movie was full of humor, but also had food for thought such as when Sullivan's butler, who disapproves of his quest to make a film about the poor, tells him, "The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous."

The film takes a serious turn when Sullivan gets a major dose of trouble, still, comedy carries the story and the message, "There's a lot to be said for making people laugh."

Our concerns before watching the film were unfounded. No wonder it is a classic.


  1. Wonder if it's still available on Netflix...Would love to watch this! Thanks for the review.

    Gail Park

    Making Life an Art

    1. Netflix still has it on DVD, but not streaming. We recently caught it on Turner Classic Movie Channel and saved it on DVR, but I don't think it's scheduled on there again for a while. ( will let you ask for notification of the next time it plays, though.)