Sunday, June 1, 2008

film of the day



"people like what they know nothing about"

The studio executives in Sullivan's Travels(1941), my favorite Preston Sturges film, seem to be trying to tell us one thing is sure, by gumm, and that is The Secret Of Life is to stay right at home, take care of business, and don't think you can venture out into the unknown to find your true significance.

Baloney. Deep dish baloney.

John Sullivan (Joel McCrea), a genius comedy 'picture director' known for such smash hits as Ants In Your Pants of 1939, wants to get out of Hollywood, in more ways than one, to make a social commentary: to "hold a mirror up to life." He wants to make O Brother, Where Art Thou? despite protestations of studio execs. His idea is to set out on the road as a hobo (yes! a vagabond!) with ten cents in his pocket to experience first hand the plight of the down-trodden.

He meets up with a down-on-her-luck actress, The Girl (the lovely Veronica Lake), who knows a lot about hunger, and along the way this satire takes an unexpected dark turn. It turns into the type of film his producers have told him in the first place that the movie-going public avoid. But not too dark - during a dialog-less montage, the two get their very own ants in the pants.

Sturges also has along for the ride (in a luxurious land yacht shadowing Sullivan) his usual wonderful eccentric company of character actors, including William Demarest, Eric Blore, and Franklin Pangborn. And they have most of the best lines. The funniest, and the ones you lean forward and stop crunching your popcorn to hear clearer.

More than a sublime movie about movies.

5 Comments:

Blogger willow said...

Phil, this looks like a great film. I've never seen it and am adding it to my list.

Are you a native Hoosier, or a transplant?

Thanks for stopping by the manor!

6/04/2008 7:11 PM  
Blogger willow said...

Oh, one more thing...I see you have Willa Cather listed in your faves. I have not read any of her books, but would like to. Any suggestions on which to read first?

6/04/2008 7:15 PM  
Blogger the drifter said...

Willow!..

I'm a native Hoosier. You can tell by my glazed over eyes when anyone uses more than one-syllable words. :)

Your Manor is the most elegant place I've seen yet in Blogsville. I love it!

I started with Cather's My Ántonia. Seemed like it was on everybody's list of The Great 100. Was also pleased with O Pioneers!, and Death Comes For The Archbishop.

6/04/2008 7:57 PM  
Blogger Blog Princess G said...

This sounds like a great film Phil. I've never even heard of it. I finally read My Antonia last week, on your recommendation, and I loved it so much. Many thanks!

6/04/2008 9:09 PM  
Blogger willow said...

I am a Hoosier, too, at least born and lived the first six years of my life there. My daughter did her undergrad at IU and we always loved going to Bloomington.

Thanks for the Cather recommendation. Blog Princess just did a post on how much she enjoyed My Antonia. So I will start with that.

6/04/2008 10:35 PM  

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