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The Best Man (1964)

 -  Drama  -  5 April 1964 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,956 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 22 critic

The two front runners for their party's Presidential nomination, one principled and the other ruthless, vie for the ex-President's endorsement.

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(as Franklin Schaffner)

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(screenplay)
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Title: The Best Man (1964)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
William Russell
...
Joe Cantwell
...
Mabel Cantwell
Margaret Leighton ...
Alice Russell
...
Sheldon Bascomb
...
President Art Hockstader
...
Sue Ellen Gamadge
Gene Raymond ...
Don Cantwell
...
Dick Jensen
...
Herself
...
Howard K. Smith
John Henry Faulk ...
Gov. T.T. Claypoole
...
Sen. Oscar Anderson
Penny Singleton ...
Mrs. Claypoole (scenes deleted)
George Kirgo ...
Speechwriter
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Storyline

The other party is in disarray. Five men vie for the party nomination for president. No one has a majority as the first ballot closes and the front-runners begin to decide how badly they want the job. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Does The Best Man Always Get To The White House?

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 April 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gore Vidal's The Best Man  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Adapted from a stage production that opened on March 31, 1960, at the Morosco Theatre in New York and ran for 520 performances. Lee Tracy repeated in this film the role he created on Broadway and for which he was nominated for the 1960 Tony Award for Best Actor, losing to co-star Melvyn Douglas, who played William Russell (the role Henry Fonda played in the film). The play was also nominated for the 1960 Tony Award for Best Play, written by Gore Vidal (who also penned the screenplay for the movie version), losing to William Gibson's "The Miracle Worker." See more »

Goofs

Several times, stock footage of actual political rally doesn't match scenes shot especially for movie. In several shots, no one is sitting in upper seats of auditorium that are nonetheless packed in newsreel footage of same alleged event. See more »

Quotes

William Russell: T.T. Claypoole has all the characteristics of a dog except loyalty.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, a picture of every single U.S. President appears in order, from George Washington to Lyndon Johnson. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 53rd Annual Academy Awards (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Great Lee Tracy Actually Gets To Curse On screen
22 February 2006 | by (NY, NY) – See all my reviews

What a pleasure to see Lee Tracy in his later years! He plays a President who is terminally ill-- not that Conservative, mudslinging candidate Cliff Robertson cares about his health.

The movie has some weird, faux cinema verite angles. It may not be great art as a movie. But what a screenplay, courtesy of Gore Vidal! Rarely are audiences treated to such literate dialogue and politic insight and wisdom.

Henry Fonda is very good as the upright candidate in a primary. Margaret Leighton, whom I love, is charming as his wife, though it's odd that a senator would have a British-accented wife.

Robertson, not a particular favorite generally, is superb as his rival. His tactics make the flesh crawl.

Kevin McCarthy as Fonda's aid is very good. Edie Adams as a political hostess is a scream -- and she seems just right.

And Tracy. He is both funny and touching. What a splendid actor that man was! In so many early movies, he delivered long, elegant bits of dialogue in what seemed to be a single take. That guy was load with talent. What a shame he self-destructed. But here he was, back again.

This is one of a kind and most definitely worth a visit.


27 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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