Classic Movies · Movies

“Hollywood’s often tried to mix/Show business with politics…”


Once again, Bill Crider leads the way in pointing me toward a recent blurb at the San Francisco Chronicle online that chooses the Top 10 political campaign films…and does so without the spurious help of Diebold, I might add. You should go read it for a more in-depth view, but for those of you who don’t have the time (the half-eaten bagel clenched between your teeth is a dead giveaway) here are the picks, in alphabetical order:

1) All the King’s Men (1949)
2) The Best Man (1964)
3) Blaze (1989)
4) Bob Roberts (1992)
5) Bulworth (1998)
6) The Candidate (1972)
7) The Last Hurrah (1958)
8) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
9) Primary Colors (1998)
10) Speechless (1994)

I’ve seen nine of the ten flicks on SFGate’s list (Speechless is the odd film out, on account of the fact that I lost interest in Michael Keaton’s career about the time he convinced himself he was Batman) and of those the only one I’d be hesitant to recommend would be Blaze, only because Paul Newman never truly convinced me he was Earl Long (and besides that, the film could have used a little trimming). The other eight are all superb examples of the political process (warts and all), particularly King’s MenBest ManBob RobertsCandidate and Last Hurrah.

John Derek, John Ireland, and Broderick Crawford in All the King’s Men (1949)

This seems as good a time as any to note that Turner Classic Movies will be saluting politically-themed films with a twenty-one gun, er, movie salute on Wednesday nights in September. CandidateBest ManMr. SmithKing’s Men and Hurrah are all scheduled to be shown—and if you’ve never seen any of these, you owe it to yourself to give them the once-over. I’m looking forward to seeing a few of my old favorites (The Great McGintyThe Glass Key) again as well as a few rarities: The Dark HorseGabriel Over the White HouseThe President’s Analyst (Godfrey Cambridge alert!) and The Boss—which has been on my must-see list for some time now. Here’s the lineup:

September 3
08:00 PM The Last Hurrah (1958)
10:15 PM The Candidate (1972)
12:15 AM The Best Man (1964)
02:00 AM Nashville (1975)
04:45 AM The Dark Horse (1932)

September 10
08:00 PM Advise And Consent (1962)
10:30 PM Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
12:45 AM The Farmer’s Daughter (1947)
02:30 AM Washington Story (1952)
04:00 AM Washington Merry-Go-Round (1932)

September 17
08:00 PM Abe Lincoln In Illinois (1940)
10:00 PM Tennessee Johnson (1942)
12:00 AM Gabriel Over The White House (1933)
01:30 AM The President’s Analyst (1967)
03:30 AM Four Days In November (1964)
05:45 AM The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)

September 24
08:00 PM All the King’s Men (1949)
10:00 PM The Great McGinty (1940)
11:30 PM The Glass Key (1942)
01:00 AM The Boss (1956)
02:45 AM Flamingo Road (1949)

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