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The role of film?

by Kate Fortmueller

Like many Hollywood films about Hollywood, Sullivan's Travels contemplates the role of film and filmmaking in society. Specifically, this film asks: should film have a social purpose or should film be pure entertainment? Throughout Sullivan's Travels, John L. Sullivan tries to research and make an important and socially conscious Hollywood film. By the end of the film he decides that he no longer wants to make a political film, but rather he wants to continue making comedies. In light of the argument that the film presents about the social value of films, how are we to read this ending? Is this a “cop out”? Or, is this ending simply validating the types of films that have made Sturges famous?

Sullivan's Travels (1941) - Ending

In this clip John L. Sullivan explains why he no longer wants to make the socially conscious film O Brother, Where Art Thou?

from Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Creator: Preston Sturges
Posted by Kate Fortmueller