In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what ... See full summary »
In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what he is and what he isn't, are his only admirers. Then, it is discovered that he is the only registered voter in a key precinct and the politicians, from both parties, arrive in droves bearing inducements. What he does about this situation, and the relatives who want to take his children away from him make up the story. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
WHAT MAKES A GREAT PICTURE?...In this case it's a man with a hole in his pants and an empty heart...and two loyal kids who just knew their dad was a great man...and that wonderful, intangible something that makes blood pound faster, brings a lump in the throat, a laugh of gladness, and a precious tear to the eye! Come expecting one of the best pictures you've ever seen! See more »
Garson Kanin's debut as a film director. See more »
Gregory Vance, magnified briefly, by a kindly destiny, in a kindly land where... where greatness is within a people, not within a man; and where any man who calls himself great, is only looking at his shadow, from the shoulders of those who have lifted him up. Today, his own feet must carry him. Side by side we walk today, the big and the little, and, those we sometimes call: the down and out. A voter, by the name of Mr. Whittier, once spoke of that. Today, of all the weary year, a king of men ...
See more »
Good-Hearted Drama with Terrific Barrymore Performance
Great Man Votes, The (1939)
*** (out of 4)
Tender RKO drama about a former Harvard professor (John Barrymore) who has lost everything due to being an alcoholic but when there's a threat of him losing his children (Peter Holden, Virginia Weidler) fate steps in and he gets a shot at proving he's a great man. THE GREAT MAN VOTES is a nice little gem that certainly has its heart in the right place but what really carries the picture is the wonderful performance by Barrymore who really gets to shine in one of his last major roles. It's a well-known part of Hollywood history now that Barrymore was an alcoholic and it's fascinating seeing how Hollywood added this into the majority of roles he did in the later stages of his career. The way it's used in this film is certainly a lot more respectable and better handled than in such stuff like PLAYMATES and THE GREAT PROFILE but it's still interesting because you can't imagine a major star of today's times suffering from alcoholism and it being used in roles. With that said, Barrymore is simply divine here because he bounces off each and every wall within the frame of the picture and in the end you really can't help but love the character. Barrymore was known for going over-the-top at times and he certainly does that here but at the same time when the script calls for something more dramatic he pulls it off like no other could. The final speech he gives really comes out of no where and the drama and passion Barrymore puts into it is certainly something special. The supporting players add fine work and I was really impressed with Holden and Weilder who played the children. I was somewhat shocked to see that Holden didn't appear in any movies before or after this one, which is too bad because he's quite charming here. Katharine Alexander does a nice job as a school teacher and Donald MacBride is very good as the dirty politician. The entire story is a bit too far-fetched at times and especially how quickly Barrymore's character goes from a push-over to a "great man" but the film has a good message to deliver and with the actors great performance you can't help but want to bring attention to the film.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?