Wednesday, August 27, 2008

“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 Men, Best Man, Bob Roberts, Candidate and Last Hurrah.

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. Candidate, Best Man, Mr. Smith, King’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 McGinty, The Glass Key) again as well as a few rarities: The Dark Horse, Gabriel Over the White House, The 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:

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

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

17 Wednesday
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 President's Analyst, The (1967)
03:30 AM Four Days In November (1964)
05:45 AM Gorgeous Hussy, The (1936)

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

1 comment:

The Vintage Reader said...

Thanks for the alert! I just got TCM again this week, when U-verse came to our (new) neighborhood. I saw The Candidate in my college American Governance class, which gained the professor an entirely new level of respect from me. I've never seen The Glass Key, although I've read it several times. So I can nod sagely when the term "ward heeler" comes up in conversation (assuming it ever does, which is doubtful), because I know what one does. :-)