September 17, 2014 | Rome, Italy | Clear 20°C
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Drama

The Company You Keep

Robert Redford's "homage" to 1960s radical protestors is very much in character.

Maps to the Stars

A Cronenberg Hollywood black farce is considerably more than it seems.

It Felt Like Love

Director Eliza Hittman has too much and too little going on in this sexual initiation story.

Concussion

Robin Weigert steals the show in Stacie Passion's deft film about lesbian midlife.

War Story

Catherine Keener gives Mark Jackson's grief-stricken film a sense of purpose.

Locke

Tom Hardy puts on a brilliant display in the story of a man undergoing upheaval.

Science Fiction

Her

Spike Jonze takes 21st-century realities and pushes them forward into hallowed ground.

Frequencies

Darren Paul Fisher throws stitches together an engaging sci-fi love story around free will.

Snowpiercer

In visual and verbal spirit, Joon-ho Bong fantasy tale recalls Terry Gilliam's 1985 "Brazil."

Fantasy

Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch's take on loving but weary vampires is a sophisticated delight.




Date: 1942
Directed by: Preston Sturges
Starring: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Porter Hall, Byron Foulger

Sullivan's Travels

Preston Sturges' charming feel-gooder did more than provide a witty if not screwy antidote to American depression and the raging world war of its day: it mocked Hollywood values while paying homage to the uplifting cheer of motion pictures.

Sullivan (Joel McCrea) is upscale frat boy who's also a successful maker of comedies and musicals. But when he comes up with a movie about world woes, his producers think he's crazy. Who needs that? And what does he know about woe? Determined to get his way, he tells them he intends to embark on road trip with just a dime in his pocket, a tramp looking for trouble. And he does.

His first escape gets him as far as a Hollywood diner, where he meets going-nowhere starlet (Veronica Lake), who has him figured: "You don't know what trouble is, spoiled boy." He comes clean about his wealth and fame and she demands to join him on his dime-sized adventure. Off they go, with Sturges deftly mixing comedy, screwball scenes, and plenty of jibes mocking the silver screen life.

"Caliph of comedy" Sully, a modern-day Gulliver, is unwavering in wanting to experience the misbegotten side of life soup kitchens and freight trains only to discover you really can't switch social station on a lark. Not when you have an entourage. Only a twist of fate can manage that, and fate obliges, in "be-careful-what-you-wish-for" style. Part inspirational tale, part homage to the world's need for laughter, this period-piece Americana of the highest order.

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
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