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Sullivan’s Travels Blu-ray Review

Sullivan's Travels Blu-ray

“Sullivan’s Travels” is the best Preston Sturges film.

Written and directed by Preston Sturges, “Sullivan’s Travels” revolves around a director (John Sullivan) who is striving for realism with his next film project (a serious adaptation of “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”). In order to further understand the life of poverty stricken people, John decides to hit the road disguised as a hobo. While on his journey, he befriends a failed actress (who eventually accompanies him on his trip), encounters dangers (including a thief), loses his memory, and is even presumed dead by many people (including his money grubbing wife). To say things don’t go according to plan is an understatement, but John still manages to learn some very valuable lessons along the way.

Having written classic comedies such as “The Lady Eve,” “Hail The Conquering Hero,” and “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek,” Preston Sturges is known for creating memorable characters and snappy dialogue and “Sullivan’s Travels” is certainly backs up that fact. While others may disagree, his skills as a writer and director are never more evident than with this rewarding comedy about class, humor, and the power of cinema. Even though the film was released way back in 1941, the film still manages to feel timely and poignant. It’s the rare film that can pull off being both serious and funny without faltering.

Aside from the work of Sturges, actor Joel McCrea deserves much credit here as the main character John Sullivan. McCrea is a truly underrated and superb actor who is at the top of his game here. Sure, he may be most well known for starring in westerns, but two of his finest performances were in non western films with ‘Travels’ and Hitchcock’s “Foreign Correspondent.” Veronica Lake also shines here as “The Girl.” She’s another actor who has become rather underrated over the years.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The crisp and clear B&W picture quality has some scratches, but this is still far and away the best transfer to date.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? It’s a little mellow, but it does the job.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Stuart Klawans.
* 3 archival audio bits in which Preston Sturges talks to Hedda Hopper, sings “My Love,” and recites “If I Were A King.”
* “Ants In Your Plants Of 1941”- A 17 minute video essay by David Cairns that also features comments by director Bill Forsyth. Discussions include Preston Sturges, “Sullivan’s Travels,” the themes of his 1941 masterwork, and so forth.
* An archival 2001 interview with the late wife of Preston Sturges (Sandy Sturges).
* “Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer”- Fritz Weaver narrates this insightful 75 minute documentary about the life, family, and filmography of filmmaker Preston Sturges. Interviews with family and friends are included as well as a host of pictures and film clips.
* A 2001 commentary that features Noah Baumbach, Kenneth Bowser, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean.

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April 11, 2015 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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