Archive for January 15th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(USA 1941 90m) DVD1/2

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

p  Paul Jones  d/w  Preston Sturges  ph  John F.Seitz  ed  Stuart Gilmore  m  Leo Shuken  art  Hans Dreier, Earl Hedrick  cos  Edith Head

Joel McCrea (John L.Sullivan), Veronica Lake (The girl), Robert Warwick (Lebrand), Porter Hall (Hadrian), William Demarest (Jones), Franklin Pangborn (Casalais), Byron Foulger (Valdelle), Eric Blore (Valet), Robert Greig (Butler), Margaret Hayes (Secretary), Torben Meyer (Doctor), Jimmy Conlin (Trusty), Alan Bridge (The Mister),

If there was ever a film that personified the Golden Age American cinema not appreciating talent, it’s Preston Sturges’ masterpiece from 1941.  Perhaps it was because the film wasn’t easily pigeonholed; it was comedy, a satire, an oddball romance and a tragedy, all rolled up into one deluxe ninety minute package. Sturges made other great films, three of which are covered elsewhere in this list, but for me Sullivan’s Travels is his masterpiece, a work of genius for all time.

            John Lloyd Sullivan is in a rut.  The thirty-two year old director of such popular hits as Ants in Your Pants of 1939 is sick of making frothy films and yearns to make a serious social drama along the lines of The Grapes of Wrath, based on a worthy novel entitled O Brother, Where Art Thou?.  He decides that he needs to feel some of the misery for himself and sets off with a few cents in his pocket, dressed as a tramp, to look for trouble and despair to inspire him for his attempted magnum opus.  But events conspire to bring him back to Hollywood, where he runs into a young girl who is tired of the casting couch and lecherous executives and wants to go home.  But then she fancies the idea of tagging along with him as he goes out on his experiment. (more…)

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