While not an immediate hit upon its release in 1941 Preston Sturges’ comic masterpiece Sullivan’s Travels went on to be acknowledged as a true classic of American cinema.
In 1990, Sullivan’s Travels was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” In 2007 the American Film Institute ranked it as sixty-first in its “Greatest Movies of All Time.” Now the Criterion Collection reissues the story of Sullivan, a director hellbent on making a socially significant film about poverty and human suffering who, never having suffered himself, sets out to live as a hobo. He quickly partners with the plucky aspiring actress he meets along the way (played by legendary Hollywood blonde Veronica Lake). Ultimately Sullivan concludes that laughter is more crucial to humanity than any message of social significance — though Sturges’ film manages to possess both.
THE WORD: Even if you typically avoid older comedies — assuming the humor will be too dated to be funny to you, this one might change your mind.
THE WHERE: Home Video
By Jonathan Roche
Last modified: July 27, 2017