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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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

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WHATTA GUY! He loved a fight or a frolic...and he usually found one! (original ad) 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

Brian Donlevy and Akim Tamiroff reprised their roles as Governor McGinty and The Boss in Preston Sturges's The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944). In the film, McGinty and The Boss provide a retroactive marriage license for Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken. 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."
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Soundtracks

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

 
Preston Sturges makes his mark
24 November 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Government corruption may not be a laughing matter, but writer director Preston Sturges made some of his funniest comedies from the most unlikely material, and he smartly lampooned the political process in his big screen directing debut. Brian Donlevy is the title character, a less than scrupulous bum elected to the State Governor's office under the patronage of underworld boss Akim Tamiroff and, in a clever reversal of the usual formula, reformed by the responsibilities of public office. But the Governor's newfound honesty spells the end of his fledgling political career because, as McGinty himself so eloquently says, "you can't make a silk purse out of a pig's ear". The film lacks the madcap pace and eccentric characters of later Sturges classics, but compensates with plenty of rich satire (says big boss Tamiroff: "if it weren't for graft you'd get a very low type of person in government…") and an unusual romantic subplot decades ahead of its time. After more than half a century Sturges' wit and originality is still invigorating, not unlike a bracing slap in the face.


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