Genre: Comedy Drama
Directed by: Preston Sturges
Starring: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Robert Greig, Eric Blore
Generally considered Preston Sturges' best film (which is really a tough call) and the first of three of his films to be placed on the National Film Registry, Sullivan's Travels (1941) is certainly his most ambitious work -- and probably his most personal. Joel McCrea stars as a big shot Hollywood director, John L. Sullivan, who is known for his comedies, but who wants to make a serious film "that means something." To this end, he's come up something called O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which his bosses describe as "10 reels of hard luck." They'd much prefer him to make Ants in Your Pants of 1941, but he's adamant about "holding a mirror up to life" -- until it's pointed out that he has no idea what trouble is, having gone from a rich childhood to a successful career. Instead of dissuading him from the project, though, this causes him to decide to go experience poverty for himself, so he can make O Brother, Where Art Thou? with some actual understanding. This results in the travels of the title, as well as romance with a girl ("There's always a girl in the picture -- don't you go to the movies?"), who oddly is never given a name in the film, but is played by Veronica Lake in easily her best performance. As things turn out -- both comedically and seriously -- Sullivan gets far more than he bargains for.
The Asheville Film Society will screen Sullivan's Travels on Tuesday, May 15, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther. Hanke is the artistic director of the A.F.S.
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