Sullivan’s Travels is a curious but effective mixture of grim tragedy, slapstick of the Key- stone brand and smart, trigger-fast comedy.
It is written and directed by Preston Sturges, who springs a flock of surprises as he flits from slapstick to stark drama, from high comedy to a sequence of the Devil’s Island prison type of stuff, into romantic spells, some philosophy and, in effect, all over the place without warning.
He ties it all together neatly, however, and keeps his audience on the go and on edge. Sturges’ dialog is trenchant, has drive, possesses crispness and gets the laughs where that is desired.
Hollywood director Joel McCrea, anxious to produce Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?, an epic of hard times and troubles, disguises himself as a hobo and goes out to look for troubles, finding plenty for himself. He picks up Veronica Lake on the way and they travel the rails together, she in boy’s clothes.
A fine cast has been assembled around McCrea and Lake. Latter supplies the sex appeal and does a good acting job. McCrea, in the lap of luxury as a Hollywood director one minute, and a bum the next, turns in a swell performance.