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>

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It's Two-Fisted FUN! A fightin' fool gives you laughter of a lifetime..! (original ad) See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

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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

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its initial television broadcast took place in Chicago Thursday 5 March 1959 on WBBM (Channel 2), followed by Phoenix 17 August 1959 on KVAR (Channel 12), by Los Angeles 23 September 1959 on KNXT (Channel 2), by Johnstown 15 November 1959 on WJAC (Channel 6), by Pittsburgh 15 February 1960, and, finally, by New York City 8 July 1960 on WCBS (Channel 2). It was first released on DVD 21 November 2006 as one of seven titles in Universal's Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection, and again 15 November 2016 as a single as one of the Universal Vault Series. Since that time, it's also had occasional airings on Turner Classic Movies. See more »

Goofs

When McGinty enters the hall after being elected mayor, a moving shadow of the camera is visible on a pillar in the foreground. See more »

Quotes

Skeeters: If it wasn't for graft, you'd get a very low type of people in politics. Men without ambition. Jellyfish.
Catherine: Especially since you can't rob the people anyway.
Skeeters: Sure. How was that?
Catherine: What you rob, you spend, and what you spend goes back to the people. So, where's the robbery? I read that in one of my father's books.
Skeeters: That book should be in every home.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Louise
Written by Richard A. Whiting and Leo Robin
Played on piano
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Preston Sturges Begins His Golden Five Years
9 July 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In his golden five years 1940-44, Preston Sturges was the writer & director for eight movies for Paramount, ALL GOOD and MOST of them BRILLIANT.

I first came to know these movies when five of them were shown on the BBC at Christmas in the early 1990's, including my personal favourites 'The Lady Eve' and 'The Palm Beach Story'. Since then I have had to wait for the invention of the DVD, and then last year's Preston Sturges DVD box set, when at last I could check out the other three.

Of those three, 'The Great McGinty' was the first movie to be "Written & Directed by Preston Sturges", and has to go into the GOOD rather than the BRILLIANT category. But for his first such project to be so good has got to be seen as a brilliant achievement for Sturges. I know how long he had to wait, and how hard he had to bargain to get that opportunity. He knew he had to succeed, not in his own terms but in those of his bosses at Paramount. In other words he had to bring in an economical movie that was conventional enough to be popular with audiences and critics alike.

The lead, Brian Donleavy plays McGinty as quite a straight character who has comic moments in set pieces with other players. The best comedy of the movie probably comes from Bill Demarest as "the Politician" and especially Akim Tamiroff as "the Boss", who drives the movie and its plot along, as he pushes McGinty and his career forward.

The second movie in the Preston Sturges golden period would be 'Christmas in July', again not one of his brilliant best, but beginning to include more of the lunacy and eccentric characters of a true Preston Sturges movie. By the time of his third project 'The Lady Eve', Sturges would be at the top of his form and the top of his art, and 'The Great McGinty' has to be seen not only as a good movie in itself, but as the first step in that direction.


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