Sullivan`s Travels

Synopsis: Sullivan is a successful, spoiled, and naive director of fluff films, with a heart-o-gold, who decides he wants to make a film about the troubles of the downtrodden poor. Much to the chagrin of his producers, he sets off in tramp's clothing with a single dime in his pocket to experience poverty first-hand, and gets some reality shock.
Director(s): Preston Sturges
Production: Paramount Pictures
  2 wins.
Rotten Tomatoes:
90 min

You see? You see

the symbolism of it?

Capital and Labor

destroy each other.

It teaches a moral lesson.

It has social significance.

Who wants to see that kind of stuff?

It gives me the creeps.

Tell him how long it played

in the Music Hall.

It was held over a fifth week.

Who goes to the Music Hall?


Communists? This picture's

an answer to Communists!

It shows we're awake...

and not dunking our heads in the sand

like a bunch of ostriches!

I want this picture to be

a commentary on modern conditions.

Stark realism. The problems

that confront the average man.

- But with a little sex.

- A little, but I don't want to stress it.

I want this picture

to be a document.

I want to hold

a mirror up to life.

I want this to be

a picture of dignity...

- a true canvas of the suffering of humanity.

- But with a little sex.

- With a little sex in it.

- How about a nice musical?

How can you talk about musicals

at a time like this,

with the world

committing suicide?

With corpses piling up

in the street,

with grim death gargling at you

from every corner,

- with people slaughtered like sheep!

- Maybe they'd like to forget.

Then why did they hold this one over

for a fifth week? For the ushers?

- It died in Pittsburgh.

- Like a dog.

- What do they know in Pittsburgh?

- They know what they like.

If they knew what they liked,

they wouldn't live in Pittsburgh.

If you pandered to the public,

you'd still be in the horse age.

- You think we're not? Look at Hopalong Cassidy.

- You look at him!

We'd still be making Keystone chases,

bathing beauties, custard pie...

- And a fortune.

- A fortune.

Of course I'm just a minor

employee here, Mr. LeBrand...

He's starting that one again.

I wanted to make you something outstanding...

something you could be proud of,

something that would realize

the potentialities of film...

as the sociological

and artistic medium that it is.

With a little sex in it.

Something like...

- Something like Capra. I know.

- What's the matter with Capra?

- Look, you want to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?

- Yes.

- Now, wait a minute!

- Then go ahead and make it!

For what you're getting,

I can't afford to argue with you.

That's a fine way to start a man out

on a million-dollar production.

You want it, you've got it!

I can take it on the chin.

I've taken it before.

- Not from me you haven't.

- Not from you, Sully, that's true.

Not with pictures like

So Long Sarong,

Hey, Hey, In the Hayloft,

Ants in Your Plants of 1939...

But they weren't about tramps,

lockouts, sweatshops,

people eating garbage in alleys

and living in piano boxes and ash cans.

- And phooey!

- They're about nice, clean young people...

who fell in love...

with laughter and music and legs.

Now take that scene in

Hey, Hey, In the Hayloft...

But you don't realize

conditions have changed.

There isn't any work.

There isn't any food.

- These are troublous times.

- What do you know about trouble?

- What do I know about trouble?

- Yes, what do you know about trouble?

- What do you mean, what do I know about trouble?

- Just what I'm saying.

You want to make a picture

about garbage cans...

When did you eat

your last meal out of one?

- What's that got to do with it?

- He's asking you.

You want an epic about misery...

you want to show hungry people

sleeping in doorways.

With newspapers around them.

You want to grind

- and all I'm asking you is, what do you know about hard luck?

- Yes!

- What do you mean? Don't you think I've...

- No.

- What?

- You have not.

I sold newspapers

till I was 20,

then I worked in a shoe store and

put myself through law school at night.

- Where were you at 20?

- I was in college.

When I was 13 I supported three sisters,

two brothers and a widowed mother.

- Where were you at 13?

- I was in boarding school.

- I'm sorry.

- You don't have to be ashamed of it, Sully.

That's the reason your pictures have

been so light, so cheerful, so inspiring.

They don't stink with messages.

That's why I paid you

- 750 at 25.

- 1,000 when you were 26.

- When I was 26, I was getting 18.

- 2,000 at 27.

- I was getting 25 then.

- 3,000 after Thanks for Yesterday.

4,000 after Ants in Your Plants.

I suppose you're trying to tell me

I don't know what trouble is.

- Yes!

- In a nice way, Sully.

You're absolutely right.

I haven't any idea what it is.

People always like what they don't

know anything about.

I had a lot of nerve wanting to make

a picture about human suffering.

You're a gentleman to admit it, Sully,

but then, you are anyway.

How about making

Ants in Your Plants of 1941?

- You can have Bob Hope, Mary Martin...

- Maybe Bing Crosby.

- The Abbott Dancers.

- Maybe Jack Benny and Rochester.

- A big-name band.

- What?

Oh, no. I want to make

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

But I'll tell you

what I'm gonna do first.

I'm going down to wardrobe

to get some old clothes,

- some old shoes,

- Huh?

- and I'm gonna start out with ten cents in my pocket.

- What?

I don't know where I'm going,

but I'm not coming back...

- till I know what trouble is.

- What?

Don't worry, you can

take me off salary.

Who's talking about

taking you off salary?

- So long. Thanks for the idea.

- Wait! Don't be so impulsive.

- How soon will you be back?

- I don't know.

Maybe a week, maybe a month,

maybe a year.

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Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges (; born Edmund Preston Biden; August 29, 1898 – August 6, 1959) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and film director. In 1941, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film The Great McGinty, his first of three nominations in the category. Sturges took the screwball comedy format of the 1930s to another level, writing dialogue that, heard today, is often surprisingly naturalistic, mature, and ahead of its time, despite the farcical situations. It is not uncommon for a Sturges character to deliver an exquisitely turned phrase and take an elaborate pratfall within the same scene. A tender love scene between Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve was enlivened by a horse, which repeatedly poked its nose into Fonda's head. Prior to Sturges, other figures in Hollywood (such as Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, and Frank Capra) had directed films from their own scripts, however Sturges is often regarded as the first Hollywood figure to establish success as a screenwriter and then move into directing his own scripts, at a time when those roles were separate. Sturges famously sold the story for The Great McGinty to Paramount Pictures for $1, in return for being allowed to direct the film; the sum was quietly raised to $10 by the studio for legal reasons. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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