July 10, 2007

Sullivan's Travels

Sullivan's Travels
directed by Preston Sturges, 1941

For some reason I had never seen this movie before, and wow. What a lovely piece of work it is, enjoyable on so many levels. I think that the most amazing achievement is the fine control of tone throughout ... really I should watch it again, because it seems impossible that it was all handled so masterfully. The movie manages to be all post-modernly self-referential, but without using our current technique of snarky "look at me" humor to cover up its anxiety.

This is definitely a movie that's nervous about itself, refreshingly so. And just so entertaining. I laughed so hard over and over. It even manages to have to have African American characters two steps above the expected uber-cringey brain-freezing stereotypes. Great performances from Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, and a huge cast of spot-on character actors. I'd really like to watch this one a second time right away, and preferably on the big screen.

[Side Note: the Pynchon reading continues apace. Loving it so far!]

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