Sullivan's Travels

( 6 )

Overview

The people at The Criterion Collection have been consistently releasing the finest DVD reissues of film classics, and their edition of Preston Sturges' masterful Sullivan's Travels is another feather in their cap. The full-screen transfer corresponds to the theatrical release and is spotless, as is the hiss-free audio transfer. The DVD doesn't stop at the attention given to these technical details. The edition is loaded with DVD extras that include audio commentaries, a fascinating documentary on Sturges' career ...
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DVD (Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono)
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Overview

The people at The Criterion Collection have been consistently releasing the finest DVD reissues of film classics, and their edition of Preston Sturges' masterful Sullivan's Travels is another feather in their cap. The full-screen transfer corresponds to the theatrical release and is spotless, as is the hiss-free audio transfer. The DVD doesn't stop at the attention given to these technical details. The edition is loaded with DVD extras that include audio commentaries, a fascinating documentary on Sturges' career that previously appeared on the PBS series American Masters, separate interviews with Sturges and his widow, and various production archives, including photos and publicity materials. The commentaries are by scholar Kenneth Bowser, actor Michael McKean, and filmmakers Christopher Guest and Noah Baumbach. Besides being informative, these commentaries can also be quite amusing. McKean and Guest bring real insight to their consistently engaging, often quite funny discussion. Sullivan's Travels is a groundbreaking American classic that viewers can return to again and again, and this Criterion Collection DVD ensures that they will.
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Special Features

New digital transfer of the film in a RSDL dual layer edition; audio commentary by Noah Baumbach, Kenneth Bowser, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean; Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer, a 76-minute documentary by Bowser from PBS's American Masters series; interview with Sandy Sturges, Preston's widow; short Hedda Hopper interview with Sturges; audio recording of Sturges singing his original tune, "My Love" and reciting "If I Were King"; storyboards and blueprints; production stills archive; original publicity materials scrapbook; original theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The most ambitious of Preston Sturges' string of 1940s classics, Sullivan's Travels is a brilliant mixture of genres, combining giddy comedy with often brutal realism, made all the more powerful by the contrast. The first part of the film, which details the botched attempts of idealistic film director John Sullivan Joel McCrea to leave Hollywood, smoothly blends outrageous slapstick with Sturges' customary satirical dialogue, and includes classic exchanges between Sullivan and his Hollywood producers Robert Warwick and Porter Hall and his hilariously droll and opinionated butler Robert Greig. The tone of the movie changes considerably with three bravura sequences. The first, a graceful, wordless section in which Sullivan and his nameless companion Veronica Lake, showing a nice flair for comedy spend a night among the homeless, proves that, although Sturges is noted mainly for his writing, he was also a sensitive and talented director. The second, a violent chain gang episode almost shocking in its stark realism, and the third, a short musical passage set in a rural church, hammer home the movie's apparent moral: that, as Sullivan puts it, there's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Sturges may seem to be ridiculing a cinema of ideas, but his final joke is that Sullivan's Travels supports a different argument: that comedy and serious drama can co-exist quite happily after all. Mark Pittillo
All Movie Guide
The most ambitious of Preston Sturges' string of 1940s classics, Sullivan's Travels is a brilliant mixture of genres, combining giddy comedy with often brutal realism, made all the more powerful by the contrast. The first part of the film, which details the botched attempts of idealistic film director John Sullivan (Joel McCrea) to leave Hollywood, smoothly blends outrageous slapstick with Sturges' customary satirical dialogue, and includes classic exchanges between Sullivan and his Hollywood producers (Robert Warwick and Porter Hall) and his hilariously droll and opinionated butler (Robert Greig). The tone of the movie changes considerably with three bravura sequences. The first, a graceful, wordless section in which Sullivan and his nameless companion (Veronica Lake, showing a nice flair for comedy) spend a night among the homeless, proves that, although Sturges is noted mainly for his writing, he was also a sensitive and talented director. The second, a violent chain-gang episode almost shocking in its stark realism, and the third, a short musical passage set in a rural church, hammer home the movie's apparent moral: that, as Sullivan puts it, "there's a lot to be said for making people laugh." Sturges may seem to be ridiculing a cinema of ideas, but his final joke is that Sullivan's Travels supports a different argument: that comedy and serious drama can co-exist quite happily after all.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/21/2001
  • UPC: 715515012126
  • Original Release: 1941
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Time: 1:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 508

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joel McCrea John L. Sullivan
Veronica Lake The Girl
William Demarest Mr. Jones
Franklin Pangborn Mr. Casalais
Porter Hall Mr. Hadrian
Robert Warwick Mr. Lebrand
Eric Blore Sullivan's Valet
Robert Greig Sullivan's Butler
Byron Foulger Mr. Valdelle
Maggie Hayes Secretary
Torben Meyer Doctor
Richard Webb Radio Man
Charles Moore Chef
Roscoe Ates Counterman
Billy Bletcher Entertainer in Hospital
Monte Blue Cop in slums
Al Bridge The Mister
Jess Lee Brooks Black Preacher
Jan Buckingham Mrs. Sullivan
Chick Collins Capital
Chester Conklin Old Bum
Jimmy Conlin Trusty
Edgar Dearing Cop
Robert Dudley One-Legged Bum
Jimmie Dundee Labor
Harry Hayden Mr. Carson
Edward Hearn Cop, Beverly Hills Station
Esther Howard Miz Zeffie
Arthur Hoyt Preacher
Elsa Lanchester
Perc Launders Yard Man
John Farrell MacDonald Desk Sergeant
Esther Michelson Woman
Frank Mills Drunk in Theater
Howard Mitchell Railroad Clerk
Frank Moran Tough Chauffeur
Paul Newlan Truck driver
Emory Parnell Man at Railroad Shack
Victor Potel Cameraman
Gus Reed Mission Cook
Georges Renavent Old Tramp
Willard Robertson Judge
Dewey Robinson Sheriff
Harry Rosenthal The Trombenick
Almira Sessions Ursula
Harry Seymour Entertainer in Air-Raid Shelter
Preston Sturges Studio Director
Julius Tannen Public Defender
Harry Tyler R.R. Information Clerk
Mme. Sul Te Wan Harmonica player
Pat West Counterman
Robert Winkler Bud
Technical Credits
Preston Sturges Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Charles Bradshaw Score Composer
Hans Dreier Art Director
Farciot Edouart Special Effects
Stuart Gilmore Editor
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Earl Hedrick Art Director
Paul Jones Associate Producer
Sigmund Krumgold Musical Direction/Supervision
Harry D. Mills Sound/Sound Designer
Walter Oberst Sound/Sound Designer
John F. Seitz Cinematographer
Leo Shuken Score Composer
Wally Westmore Makeup
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. Logos/Titles [:10]
2. "With a little sex in it" [1:28]
3. The butler's advice [5:30]
4. The great chase [4:14]
5. Dead man's clothes [5:29]
6. The great escape [2:16]
7. The Girl [3:19]
8. All washed up [4:32]
9. "You must have a swimming pool" [5:09]
10. All aboard [4:01]
11. "Better with a girl" [5:12]
12. The Busy Bee [3:58]
13. Back where they belong [3:04]
14. Hobos once again [2:20]
15. Sully's married [6:34]
16. Greed [3:05]
17. The soles of his shoes [3:57]
18. Six years [3:51]
19. A prisoner [3:56]
20. Picture show [5:29]
21. The plot needs a twist [5:35]
22. "Because you were dead!" [2:23]
23. A comedy [2:06]
0. Index
0. Index
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play The Movie
   Commentary
      Play
         "A film by"
         All in one take
         The moral of the film
         Controlled chaos
         The power of the director
         Tried and true escape
         Sexuality and comedy
         "An artists responsibility"
         Casual luxury
         Sturges shows us poverty
         "Upping the stakes"
         Locations/Stock company
         Familial Hollywood/"More to learn"
         Telling stories with pictures
         McCrea and Lake
         Mixing genres
         William Demarest/Plot points
         Real people
         Sturges' sensibility
         Irony/Working with Sturges
         Like a play
         "Keystone Cops"
         Sturges' argument
   Preston Sturges: The Rise And Fall Of The American Dreamer
      Play
         Introduction
         An improbable childhood
         Drifting
         Reinvention
         Hollywood
         The Great McGinty
         writer/director
         The Lady Eve & Sullivan's Travels
         Two lifetimes in one
         Miracle at Morgan's Creek
         Hail the Conquering Hero
         California Pictures Corp.
         Unfaithfully Yours
         Downfall
         Leaving Hollywood
   Sandy Sturges Interview
      Play All
      Beginnings
      Writing And Directing
      Running Out Of Luck
      Howard Hughes
   Archieval Material
      Stills Gallery
         Production Stills
         Behind-The-Scenes Photos
      Storyboards
         Storyboards
         Blueprints
      Scrapbook
      Preston Sturges Interviewed By Hedda Hopper
         Play Interview
      Preston Sturges Recites "If I Were King"
         Play
      Preston Sturges Sing "My Love"
         Play
   Trailer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Worth the extra money !!

    Criterion has done an expert job on Sullivan's Travels. The clarity of the picture is outstanding.The sound has been cleaned up and the great script is easy to hear and understand. The "extras" on the disc are first rate. The documentary about Preston Sturges is informative and a lot of fun to watch. The radio interview of Sturges with Hopper is a lost gem.

    This DVD is worth the extra money.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    SIMPLY OUTSTANDING TRANSFER & EXTRAS

    After a string of B-movies, icy cool and slick Veronica Lake graduated to the big time with ¿Sullivan¿s Travels¿ the Preston Sturges¿ screwball message picture in which she costars with Joel McCrea. McCrea is film wunderkind, John L. Sullivan, a director of frothy comedies who desires to make a truly gritty motion picture about the 'suffering of humanity'. One problem - Sullivan doesn't know the first thing about suffrage, having been born with a silver spoon and thrust into a lucrative career in an industry ripened on escapism. So what's a desperate rich guy to do? Well, if you¿re Sullivan you decide to impersonate a hobo and ride the rails in search of the ¿suffering of humanity.¿ On one such fact finding journey, Sullivan finds ¿the girl¿ (Veronica Lake). At first believing Sullivan to be a hobo, ¿the girl¿ buys him breakfast. Despite being down and out herself, she falls for Sullivan¿s floppy eared good nature and, upon learning that she¿s now ¿the girl¿ of one of the richest directors in the business she becomes a complicit participant in Sullivan¿s research for the forgotten men and women of the Great Depression. Sturges ¿ considered by many to be one of the truly great all time directors - delivers what is probably his greatest film in his canon with this sobering concoction of merriment and mire, celebrating the wacky-tacky nature of the film industry and exposing the grim harsh reality of poverty on a grand scale. Truly, this is an outstanding accomplishment amongst screwball comedies. For once, ¿Sullivan¿s Travels¿ is a Criterion DVD I can actually recommend on every level. First, the picture quality of this classic film is bar none the most outstanding effort from Criterion. The gray scale is superbly balanced. Blacks are black. Contrast and shadow levels are amazing. Fine details are well represented. There are NO digital anomalies. The audio is mono but cleaned up in such a way that one hardly notices its dated shortcomings. AT LAST - as an extra, Criterion gives us 'Preston Sturges: A Life' a thoroughly engrossing, in-depth, full fledged documentary on the man, the making of this movie and his entire career. The documentary is so good in fact that you will surely want to watch it more than once. Yes, there's also an audio commentary and the usual Lux Radio junket that accompanies most Criterion classic titles, but the documentary is what counts here.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Did you notice?

    Not much of a review actually... A thouroughly enjoyable film in true satire. Did you notice the name of the book that Sullivan wrote to chronicle his adventure? It was ''Oh Brother, Where art Thou?''

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews