Author Topic: Sullivan's Travels  (Read 1454 times)


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Sullivan's Travels
« on: August 19, 2006, 03:54:30 PM »
Sam and Adam, not only are you completely wrong, I don't even understand what you're saying.

I'll try to be fair. So I'll start with what I like about this movie...Veronica Lake is absolutely wonderful. So we're in agreement there. When we get to the train track scene, and the tonal shift halfway through starts, I had a similar reaction to Sam: I had no idea where this was going, and it really was an exciting feeling. And there is genuine pathos and feeling in the camp scenes, and the scene with the preacher really is a great scene.

Unfortunately, the bad definitely outweighs the good: Joel McCrea is a rather bland actor. Compare the Woody Allen scene you played to this one: Allen sounds like a real person, McCrea sounds stagey; he's using Generically Big Acting. Too many of the pratfalls don't really work at all (they work in The Lady Eve because they tie in with character, here it's just "oh look, people are falling!"). And while the camp scenes are affecting, the plot device the film uses to get him there (temporarily lost memory) is absolutely trite and unbelievable.

But the main problem with the film, and the one that merits me saying I don't even understand what you're saying, is with the "message." How on earth can you not find it manipulative? The problem I have in this movie is best summed up by this: after the great scene of the preacher's sermon, we're then treated to what feels like five hours of watching people laugh uproariously at a cartoon that honestly isn't that funny. It's absolutely awful and manipulative. Cutting back to them before the end credits, how on earth is this *not* having a message hammered into your skull?

I enjoyed this movie in spots, but overall it's my least favorite of this marathon. There are parts that work, but once we get to the end it becomes a sermon about how awesome comedy is. Puh-leaze. Surely Mr. Sturges was smart enough to realize how insulting it is to give me a message movie with the moral being "we don't need message movies."


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Sullivan's Travels
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2006, 09:24:13 AM »
It's funny you mentioned the scene where they're laughing at the cartoon. Last weekend I was a a big used bookstore that also has DVD's, and I bought a used copy of Mike Leigh's Vera Drake. I'd already seen it. But Friday night I was out of Netflix and popped it in and watched it again.

There's a scene where Vera and her husband are in a cinema, and they're both laughing, as are the rest of the audience, at the antics on the screen. They never show the film, but the music suggests it's a cartoon or something equally slapstick.

It makes me wonder whether this is mere convention or whether in the days when those animated film experiences were relatively rare and new, people tended to respond more fully.


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Sullivan's Travels
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2006, 11:50:20 PM »
I don't think this film is as condescending as some of the others we have watched.  Just when it was about to get preachy they dialed it back or lighted it up.  I felt like the film had more respect for the people in it and the topics at hand than most of the films we've seen.  The Thin Man is still my favorite, but this movie, to me, gets right what My Man Godfrey gets wrong.

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