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The Last Hurrah (1958)

Approved | | Drama | November 1958 (USA)
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Frank Skeffington is an old Irish-American political boss, running for re-election as Mayor of of a US town for the last time.

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Writers:

(screen play) (as Frank Nugent), (based upon the novel by)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Adam Caulfield
Dianne Foster ...
Maeve Caulfield
...
John Gorman
...
Norman Cass, Sr.
...
Cardinal Martin Burke
...
'Cuke' Gillen
Edward Brophy ...
'Ditto' Boland
...
Amos Force
...
Roger Sugrue
Basil Ruysdael ...
Bishop Gardner
...
Sam Weinberg
...
Charles J. Hennessey
...
Festus Garvey
...
Winslow
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Storyline

An aging politician tries to get re-elected one last time in the changing world of the 1950s when TV started to play a bigger part in politics. Based loosely on the career of multi-term Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, this film examines the good and evil inherent in politics and all the things that go into an election. Tracy's uphill battle to stay in office is set against the political machinery that preyed on ethnic hatred and old-time money. Written by Ed Lorusso

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das letzte Hurra  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Early in the film Skeffington says that his signature will never be as valuable as Button Gwinnet's, who apparently had publicly signed few documents in his life. Gwinnet, a delegate from Georgia, was the second signer of the Declaration of Independence, after John Hancock. Gwinnet's signature is quite rare and is considered the most valuable American signature by collectors, with sales recorded as high as $150,000, matched or exceeded only just behind signatures of Gaio Giulio Cesare (aka Julius Caesar) and William Shakespeare. However, it is not quite so rare as suggested by Skeffington, as there are at least 51 examples of Gwinnet's signature known to exist, and at one time during the 1920s five samples of his signature were owned by a dealer in rare books named Rosenbach. See more »

Goofs

When Frank Jr. bursts into the bedroom to see his dying Father, the doorknob comes apart and the interior knob falls off. The Doctor immediately follows him into the room, and the doorknob is once again intact. See more »

Quotes

Roger Sugrue: [standing by Skeffington's bed] Well, at least he made his peace with God. There's one thing we all can be sure of - if he had it to do over again, there's no doubt in the world he would do it very, very differently.
Mayor Frank Skeffington: [opening his eyes] Like hell I would.
See more »

Connections

Remade as The Last Hurrah (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant Political Drama, Tracy is a master of film
12 November 2002 | by (America) – See all my reviews



This is without a doubt one of the finest political films ever produced. It is based on the book of the same name and based loosely on the life of Mayor James Curley who was incredibly popular as the mayor of Boston so popular in fact he was re-elected while he was in jail. Spencer Tracy is excellent as Mayor Frank Skeffington. (Which is kind of funny because the character is of Irish descent but his name is obviously not Irish)

Skeffington runs one of the countries great political machines. He is the undoubted leader of the city, he controls the city with an iron fist but he knows his gig is almost up. The days of engagements at luncheons and political rallies are giving way to television, which would almost make the political machine obsolete.

Skeffington does care a lot about his constituents. He often helps his voters personally. The city seems to be a great place to live and no problems ever seem to surface. But there are some problems with Skeffington's rule. First of all he often short changes various businesses, forces them to take lesser wages to help constituents. Skeffington and his cronies will often turn funerals into political meetings. This Skeffington is no saint and it seems as though his tenure might be up.

Skeffington knows his gig is up and he decides that his fifth term will be his last term, once he is elected to his fifth term of course. At this point the viewer meets some very interesting supporting players. Skeffington's cronies are the most loyal of political supporters. They will do anything Skeffington says and are the Bulwark of the city electorate making sure everything goes the way the Mayor's office wants it to. In this group of cronies are John Gorman, played by the legendary Pat O' Brien, Carleton Young, who plays Winslow, 'Cuke' Gillen, played by James Gleason, and Ditto, played by seasoned character actor Edward Brophy. The group works so well together and really are scene-stealers.

Jeffrey Hunter (Who played the first Star Trek Captain in the unsold pilot) plays the nephew of Skeffington, who works for a conservative newspaper. The editor of the newspaper, played by John Carradine does an excellent job in this movie as the old miser who has it out for the working class and Skeffington, since his family was poor and he managed to make something out of himself. The editor of the newspaper also was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

And there is also Skeffington's opposition which consists mostly of rich Anglo-Saxon white men (You guessed it, Republicans) These people are so good at playing pricks, my hat is off to them. Donald Crisp plays a Cardinal in the Catholic Church. He does a great job but the part is small for him. Basil Rathbone plays a banker opposed to Skeffington, Frank Albertson plays the father of his nephew's wife and he is a real prick. All of them do very well as the bad guys of the movie.

The movie shows some strong political views and it does not abate in its criticism of conservative rich white men. The movie talks about how the Cardinal, one of the bankers and Skeffington all grew up together and the other two seemed to forget where they came from. Sadly there are many rich people that did forget where they came from and still do.

But the movie also portrays the mayor in an accurate light as well. It does not portray him as completely honest but it does ask the question if the mayor is doing a good job and the people like him couldn't the authorities possibly overlook the law? Many people that use to live under political machines wish the political machine returned. Without the political machine cities tend to be subjected to the drudgery of politics.

Movies like this are not so abundant. This movie was all about acting. There were no special effects, just the power of the performances and the performances were very powerful. This was a great movie, no doubt about it. Tracy has such vigor and this proves like many others of his films he is a gifted actor. The all-star supporting cast is a pleasure to watch as well. Before I forget Arthur Walsh plays Skeffington's son, his part was small but good.

There is just something to watching all of these men in the 1950's, with all of the cigarette smoke, the somewhat stiff dialogue, the black and white photography, the movie shows an era bygone. Skeffington also shows his liberal side. He talked about how he supported the minorities, how he tried to make the city livable for all and so forth. I must admit the political pageantry surrounding this man was impressive even on the screen. The voting scene also was quite impressive. That scene showed the energy that used to be in an election that isn't anymore, and it is sad how few take part in the political process.

I can say nothing less than you should see this movie. It is a classic and brilliant overall. The movie is based on the life of James Curley, a former mayor of Boston who was re-elected while he was in Jail! He was never defeated as an incumbent but was defeated twice in the 1950's as a candidate for mayor. The ending of this movie almost made me cry, it was a great ending and almost inspiring. The ending as well shows you how heartless some people can be, especially rich people. This movie poses a lot of ethical questions and is very entertaining. This one is not to be missed.




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