Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mini Review:
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Starring: Joel McRea and Veronica Lake
Directed by: Preston Sturges

Another great flick! This one tells the story of John Sullivan, jaded Hollywood film director on a mission to tell the 'truth' to Americans. Not interested in filming any more 'comedies', Sullivan decides to disguise himself as a hobo and live the life of a vagrant to lend an even more realistic air to his new dramatic picture, tentatively titled 'O Brother Where Art Thou' (thanks, Cohen brothers, for that little homage). Along the way he meets a down-on-her-luck aspiring starlet, (played by Veronica Lake and known only as 'The Girl' througout the movie) who decides to join him on his travels. A classic case of mistaken identity and a signature Sturges 'twist' ends the tale on a positive note, as Sullivan comes to realize that the troubled masses need laughter in their lives more than realism.

In spite of my avid love for classic films AND Preston Sturges, this was my first viewing of this movie. It was also my very first Veronica Lake movie. She surely didnt disappoint. Though she is iconic in regards to her very 'avant guarde' hairstyle (for that time), she had a gorgeous face and a darling personality. I was also amazed how tiny she was and how impressive she remained during a large portion of the film when those signature tresses were covered by a boyish hat. The story plays along at a clip, nicely structured and easily followed. I also really loved the 'silent movie' segments, large portions of the film which were completely without dialogue and using only a peppy bit of score and some energetic acting to keep us involved. One scene in particular really stays w/ me and actually moved me to tears. It involves a group of convicts invited to join an all black congregation on their weekly movie night- a movie which happens to be a brilliant Walt Disney cartoon and which is , in itself, life affirming.

Though I adored The Lady Eve, this one is the better film of the two.

My rating: 9/10


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