The next film we'll be watching is Sullivan's Travels, a 1941 comedy about a director who takes himself far too seriously and needs a good dose of reality. I am unfazed, as this accurately describes every director I've ever worked with. Regardless, it earns a position of #136 on our venerable list.
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- "It [Sullivan's last film] died in Pittsburgh." "What do they know in Pittsburgh?" "They know what they like." "If they knew what they liked, they wouldn't live in Pittsburgh!" Touche, my friend. Sullivan: 1, Producers: 0
- Word of advice, artistic director guy. Never try to explain your vision to The Money. Their minds aren't built to think about that kind of stuff.
- I like that the producers point out that this director who wants to make a picture about hard times went to boarding school and college and has had everything handed to him his entire life. Even if they are talking out their asses, it's a fair cop.
- The director is having his butler help him pick out hobo clothes. If irony had an actual physical force, it would hit you over the head with a cricket bat.
- "The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic fascinating." That is just a great line.
- Is he seriously walking down the street with a bundle on a stick over his shoulder -- followed by a bus full of studio employees? That's just humiliating.
- So he embarks on this whole Poor Like Me expedition only to get sidetracked by trying to pick up a wannabe actress? Way to have your priorities sorted.
- I 100% LOVE the butlers calling the train station, trying to get information on how a hobo would catch a train. "Could you tell me please, does that train carry tramps, and if so, where do they get on?" Classic.
- Oh, the old falling in the swimming pool gag. I think it's become a sort of Chekhov's Gun: Don't introduce a swimming pool unless you're going to have someone fall into it.
- Haha they're such noobs at being homeless and I love the tramps mocking them on the train.
- I like the church scene - the juxtaposition between the minister singing Let My People Go and the chain gang shuffling down the aisle is really well done. But Jesus, they need to find some less funny cartoons to show before someone dies of a humor-related heart attack.
- I love how even Sullivan knows that if the court knew he was a film director, he wouldn't have gotten sentenced nearly as harshly. Self-awareness FTW.
So that's Sullivan's Travels. I liked it, I really did, but I think that it started off a lot stronger than it finished. The dialogue at the beginning of the film was so clever and witty, and then it sort of tapered off. For me, the laughs weren't delivered as frequently as they probably should have been once he actually started experiencing poverty. I feel like the movie was either in comedy mode or message mode, and had a hard time reconciling the two, whereas truly great comedy films know how to use both simultaneously. I LOVED the butlers throughout the film, doing their research on hobo life and just trying to take care of their boss. I thought Veronica Lake as The Girl was adorable and really funny, and I enjoyed the relationship between her and Sullivan. So overall, well done, although I wish the message-y aspects of the film had been dialed down a notch.
That's it for me. Thanks for reading, and come back next time for The Manchurian Candidate!