7.5/10
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34 user 25 critic

The Great McGinty (1940)

Passed | | Comedy | 23 August 1940 (USA)
Dan McGinty has great success in his chosen field of crooked politics. But endangers it all in one crazy moment of honesty...

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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Catherine McGinty
...
...
George
...
Skeeters - The Politician
...
Tommy Thompson
Harry Rosenthal ...
Louie - The Boss' Bodyguard
Arthur Hoyt ...
Libby Taylor ...
Bessy - The Colored Maid
...
Mr. Maxwell
...
The Dancing Girl
Esther Howard ...
Madame Juliette La Jolla
...
The Boss' Chauffeur (as Frank C. Moran)
Jimmy Conlin ...
The Lookout - At Felgman's
...
Benny Felgman
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Storyline

Told in flashback, Depression-era bum Dan McGinty is recruited by the city's political machine to help with vote fraud. His great aptitude for this brings rapid promotion from "the boss," who finally decides he'd be ideal as a new, nominally "reform" mayor; but this candidacy requires marriage. His in-name-only marriage to honest Catherine proves the beginning of the end for dishonest Dan... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HE'LL TAKE YOU...and MAKE YOU LAUGH! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 August 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Biograhy of a Bum  »

Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On August 19, 1939, Paramount issued a check to contract writer Preston Sturges to buy the story and screenplay of this movie, in the amount of $10. Sturges promised to sell the script for that amount if he could direct. The studio took him up on it and the film was a hit and won an Academy Award for the screenplay, probably making it the cheapest Oscar-winning script in history. See more »

Goofs

In his victory parade as governor, McGinty rides in a car and it is clear he does not have a mustache. In the next scene, which takes place the same day at the state capitol, he has a mustache. See more »

Quotes

Prologue: "This is the story of two men who met in a banana republic. One of them never did anything dishonest in his life except for one crazy minute. The other never did anything honest in his life except for one crazy minute. They both had to get out of the country."
See more »


Soundtracks

Louise
Written by Richard A. Whiting and Leo Robin
Played on piano
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User Reviews

 
Satirical, yet true,
4 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Preston Sturges' directing debut is a smash as he cleverly shows how even back in "the good old days," politics were as cruel and crooked as ever. The acting is pretty solid here, especially the leads, but the real point here is the story that Sturges has put together. Here, we see a simple man who does what he is told and almost immediately is made governor of the state. This shows that America is the land of opportunity as well as the land of corruption. What amazes me is how fluidly the film moves. It is only 82 minutes long, yet more happens here than in most Disney family movies. This shows the wonderful genius of Sturges and how he was able to enjoy a successful career throughout the 1940s. A very underrated and unknown film, this is a perfect gem about our not-so perfect government.


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