Sullivan's Travels and Veronica Lake and the Famous Peekaboo Coif
Veronica Lake is known for her peekaboo coif and mysterious allure in black and white film, but in the 1941 comedy Sullian's Travels, Lake shows that not only is she beautiful and worthy of vintage pin up posters fame, but can be satirical as well. Even the title, Sullivan's Travels, is a satire, playing on the title of the satirical self-examination journey Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift. Of course, in her first leading lady role in a film, Lake becomes the personification of the vintage pin up posters image that she would eventually become famous for.
The satire focuses on John L. Sullivan, a director struggling to find his way in Hollywood and make a socially conscious and revelant film for the masses, but eventually discovers that making a comedy would be more valuable to the decaying soceity surrounding him. He is just coming off the very profitable, but morally reprehensible comedies, and is hungry for a moral compass to direct. He creates the idea for a movie entitled O Brother, Where Art Thou? (The 2000 Cohen Brothers hit of the same name is a homage to the satirical movie Sullivan's Travel), as an exploration of the downtrodden. However, Sullivan's ideas are dismissed by his studio, and he refuses to give in to do yet another droll comedy.
Dressing like a homeless person, Sullivan sets out to discover just how the hobos live, to gain information and research for his latest film project. Yet, through a serious of misseps, Sullivan can never find the trouble and distuition he is aiming for, and ends right back in Hollywood. In one event, he meets a young actress, played by vintage pin up posters Girl Lake, and she becomes his companion in his misadventuress into downtroddenness.
Yet, Sullivan still hasn't experience trouble. Eventually he gives in and returns to Hollywood, where his studio publicly announces his travels. Good hearted Sullivan returns to the homeless area that welcomed him weeks before, and hands out 5 dollar bills to the men, as a thank you, only to finally receive the trouble he had been longing for. A bum decides to accoste Sullivan when they are alone and steal the money. However, the bum throws Sullivan on a boxcar, while standing on another set of train tracks. The bum is killed by an oncoming car, wearing the very shoes he had stolen off Sullivan. When Sullivan wakes up, he discovers that he has been murdered in the railway station. The only person who can correctly identify him is the Girl who joined him on his travels.
Sullivan's Travels explores the notino that more good can come from laughter than drama. Though a comedy, Veronica Lake's performance of The Girl garnered her higher status as a vintage pin up posters girl, with her long blonde hair, which coyly hung over her right eye. She showed that a lady can be funny, while being mysterious and sexy.
By 1990, Sullivan's Travel was finally received by the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress as a film for preservation, because of it cultural significance, a slice of irony since the film is about the struggle to find cultural significance in film.