Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Great McGinty (1940)

Director: Preston Sturges

Writer: Preston Sturges

Composers: Friedrich Hollaender, John Leipold

Starring: Brian Donlevy, Muriel Angelus, Akim Tamiroff, Allyn Joslyn, William Demarest, Louis Jean Heydt, Harry Rosenthal, Arthur Hoyt, Libby Taylor, Thurston Hall

More info: IMDb

Tagline: WHATTA GUY! He loved a fight or a frolic...and he usually found one!

Plot: Depression-era bum Dan McGinty is recruited by the city's political machine to help with vote fraud. His great aptitude for this brings rapid promotion from "the boss," who finally decides he'd be ideal as a new, nominally "reform" mayor; but this candidacy requires marriage. His in-name-only marriage to honest Catherine proves the beginning of the end for dishonest Dan...

My rating:  7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Preston Sturges, in his directorial debut, has a lot to say about politics and humanity.  It's often funny but the political horseshit is right on target.  It would be funnier if it weren't so spot on true.  The performances are very good.  I think I like Donlevy before he slid past his prime.  He's perfect for this role.  And the same goes for Tamiroff, an actor that it seems every movie I've seen him in he plays so over the top that it's annoying as hell.  Not here.  He's A-OK.  The first two thirds of the picture straddle the funny well but it's the last act where barely a joke is had and it's here where it gets serious and very real, a stark contrast to what came before.  I really enjoyed that part the most because if felt sincere and it packs some punch.  It's a great first time effort and it was only the next year when Sturges would make what many consider his masterpiece, SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (1941), a picture I haven't seen in thirty years.  I should correct that.


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