Jack Burden is a newspaper reporter who first hears of Willie Stark when his editor sends him to Kanoma County to cover the man. What's special about this nobody running for county treasurer? He's supposedly an honest man. Burden discovers this to be true when he sees Stark delivering a speech and having his son pass out handbills, while the local politicians do their best to intimidate him. Willie Stark is honest and brave. He's also a know-nothing hick whose schoolteacher wife has given him what little education he has. Stark loses the race for treasurer, but later makes his way through law school, becoming an idealistic attorney who fights for what is good. Someone in the governor's employ remembers Stark when the governor needs a patsy to run against him and split the vote of his rival. The fat cats underestimate Stark; but Jack Burden, Stark's biggest supporter, overestimates the man's idealism. To get where he wants to go, Willie Stark is willing to crack a few eggs - which ...Written by
Al Clark did the original cut but had trouble putting all the footage that Robert Rossen had shot into a coherent narrative. Robert Parrish was brought onboard by Rossen and Harry Cohn, to see what he could do. Since Rossen had a hard time cutting anything he shot, after several weeks of tinkering and cutting, the movie was still over 250 minutes long. Cohn was prepared to release it in this version after one more preview, but this threw Rossen into a panic, so Rossen came up with a novel solution. Rossen told Parrish to "[s]elect what you consider to be the centre of each scene, put the film in the synch machine and wind down a hundred feet before and a hundred feet after, and chop it off, regardless of what's going on. Cut through dialogue, music, anything. Then, when you're finished, we'll run the picture and see what we've got". When Parrish was done with what Rossen had suggested, they were left with a 109-minute movie that was more compelling to watch. After the film won its Academy Award for Best Picture, Cohn repeatedly gave Parrish credit for saving the film, even though Parrish only did what Rossen told him to do. See more »
When Tommy first takes the field, the referee is towards the left and Tommy is to the right, really not anywhere near each other, yet the ref's arm is visible in the close up. See more »
This much I swear to you. These things you shall have: I'm going to build a hospital. The biggest that money can buy. And it will belong to you. That any man, woman, and child who is sick or in pain can go through those doors and know that everything will be done for them that man can do to heal sickness, to ease pain. Free. Not as a charity. But as a right. And it is your right. Do you hear me? It is your right. And it is your right that every child should have a complete education. That any ...
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Reporter Jack Burden is sent by his editor to Kanoma County to cover political newcomer Willie Stark. Stark is railing against corrupt officials and is arrested by the corrupt police. He is the overwhelming underdog and loses the race for treasurer. He studies law at night to become a lawyer. He rises in fame when he takes on the government for shoddy school construction that killed some children. The governor needs help to win and his handlers pick Stark to split the opposition hick vote. He starts off poorly but eventually becomes a populist who wins it all. In turn, Stark's idealism is corrupted by vanity and greed turning him into yet another corrupt politician.
This is a terrific political drama. The acting is terrific from Broderick Crawford in the lead. Mercedes McCambridge is also terrific as political operator Sadie Burke. It takes a gritty dark look at the political system and its inherit corruption. It's also a character study of an idealistic man falling in love with his own persona. It is a long winding story which may be its only minor drawback. However Crawford's magnetic performance shines through.
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