Sully Sullivan (Joel McCrea) is a successful director of light comedies for a major film studio during the Depression. The work pays well, but it's fluff. Sullivan believes it's his calling to make a serious film that will ease the burden of his impoverished fellow man through a unique blend of social consciousness and sex. Problem is, Sullivan doesn't know squat about human suffering. If he wants to make his big statement picture, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, he'll need to suffer like the rest of those poor slobs outside the industry. So he hops the rails in hobo mufti, meets a failed actress (the gorgeous Veronica Lake) on her way out of town and experiences more suffering than he aimed to find. Sullivan's Travels, Preston Sturges' comedy about the business of making those Oscar-worthy movies, is a prescient hoot that satirizes Hollywood phonies, overly earnest filmmakers and the eternal art-versus-commerce argument. The Webster Film Series screens this American classic at 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday (July 3 through 5) at Moore Auditorium on Webster University's campus (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries). Tickets are $5 to $6.
July 3-5, 2009

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