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The Last Hurrah (1958)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  November 1958 (USA)
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Reviews: 36 user | 10 critic

Frank Skeffington is an old Irish-American political boss, running for re-election as Mayor of of a US town for the last time.



(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 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


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

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Release Date:

November 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das letzte Hurra  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


Mayor Frank Skeffington: One more regret at my age won't make much difference.
See more »


Featured in Directed by John Ford (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

the spirit, but not the fact
31 March 2004 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

John Ford certainly does capture the spirit of how James Michael Curley would like to have been remembered. It's how he wrote his memoirs and how Edwin O'Connor wrote that brilliant piece of fiction.

Curley was a demagogue par excellence. He played ethnic politics to the hilt. He served one term as governor of Massachusetts and that term was noted for an outrageous scandal in which pardons were sold to prisoners who could cough up the money. And he was always the victim of those nasty Yankee patriarchs.

Spencer Tracy does a great job in cleaning up the Curley image and the rest of the cast is fine. I would like to call attention to two actors who typified the cultural divide that James Michael Curley never attempted to bridge in his lifetime, unlike in this film.

Willis Bouchey playing Roger Sugrue, disparagingly referred to as the Papal Knight, is this rabidly bigoted Roman Catholic who is forever finding fault with the rest of humanity and criticizing those of his fellow Catholics who are not as good as he. He nearly has a stroke after seeing a Monsignor played by Ken Curtis on TV playing golf with a rabbi. No wonder Donald Crisp playing the Cardinal refers to him as "that horrible man, Roger Sugrue."

And the other side of the coin is John Carradine playing Amos Force the descendant of old line Puritans who is as bigoted in his way as Roger Sugrue is in his. It's alluded to that back in the 1920s Carradine was in the Ku Klux Klan and you can believe it from Carradine's portrayal.

Bouchey and Carradine are the two best in a cast that is saturated with John Ford favorites. As a lesson in respect for diversity, The Last Hurrah has a lot to say. History it's not though.

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