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Directed by Preston Sturges

United States 1941 90 mins. In English

Sturges made a career on exquisitely rendered comedies with a strongly humanistic drive—and perhaps nowhere does this alchemical mixture come together so clearly as in his 1941 masterpiece Sullivan’s Travels. John Lloyd Sullivan (Joel McCrea), a sheltered Hollywood film director who makes middling dramas and variety pictures, gets a chance to direct a screen adaptation of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Sullivan becomes determined to know the experience of the real downtrodden of America, leaving Tinseltown with a only a dime in his pocket. False starts and Hollywood hangers-on bog him down, but after meeting an aspiring actress (Veronica Lake) in an all-night diner, Sullivan’s travels begin to take shape and meaning. Sturges shows great empathy for the poor of America with this semi-autobiographical film, and makes progress in a quest to understand the deeper meaning of the movies.