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The Great Man Votes (1939)

 -  Drama  -  13 January 1939 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 303 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 3 critic

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 »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Vance
Peter Holden ...
Donald
...
Joan
Katharine Alexander ...
Miss Billow
Donald MacBride ...
Iron Hat McCarthy
Benny Bartlett ...
Davy McCarthy (as Bennie Bartlett)
Brandon Tynan ...
Chester Ainslee
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Phoebe Ainslee
Granville Bates ...
The Mayor
Luis Alberni ...
Manos
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Hot Shot Gillings
...
Charles Dale
Roy Gordon ...
Mr. Byrne
Edit

Storyline

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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A MAN WITH A HOLE IN HIS PANTS (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 January 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il voto del grand'uomo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$84,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Garson Kanin's debut as a film director. See more »

Quotes

Miss Billow: I never thought a meringue pie could make so lovely a speech.
See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Cry of Freedom
(1864) (uncredited)
Written by George Frederick Root
Played during the opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Deciding Vote
13 June 2001 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

THE GREAT MAN VOTES (RKO Radio, 1939) stars "The Great Profile" John Barrymore, as the "Great Man" named Gregory Vance, in possibly his last good screen performance in a leading role. He stars as a drunken (no acting here) philosopher and widowed father of two pre-teen children (Peter Holden and Virginia Weidler) reduced to working as a night watchman. It so happens that he is the last registered voter in a factory district. When the local party machine pins its hopes on the way this district goes, his vote becomes important, and so does Vance. Vance allows himself to be exploited with the aid of a schoolteacher, Agnes Billow (Katherine Alexander), and thus, starts life anew as a commissioner of education.

A "B" comedy-drama with a lack of big star names (except for Barrymore, whose career by this time was at a decline), the movie plays fast during its 73 minutes running time. During one of its frequent showings on American Movie Classics in 1999, former host John Burke mentioned that Barrymore disliked working with children because they become scene stealers. Indeed the children are here, and are believable in their roles, especially Virginia Weidler, but they don't take away from that Barrymore magic. And director Garson Kanin successfully mixes the plot with sentiment and comedy without making it appear too "hokey." The supporting cast includes William Demarest as Charlie Dale; Donald MacBride as "Iron Hat" McCarlty, and Bennie Bartlett as his bully son, Davie McCarlty. And whatever became of that boy actor named Peter Holden, who makes his one and only screen appearance as Barrymore's intellectual son?

THE GREAT MAN VOTES, which presently shows on Turner Classic Movies, is the sort of movie that would be best shown on Election Day. (****)


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