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The Best Man (1964)

 -  Drama  -  5 April 1964 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,900 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 21 critic

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

Director:

(as Franklin Schaffner)

Writer:

(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

Gore Vidal cheerfully admitted that he meant the character of William Russell to remind people of Adlai Stevenson and that Joe Cantwell was based on Richard Nixon. Stevenson and Nixon were, of course, in different parties. Similarly, the character of the former President played by Lee Tracy bore resemblances to both the Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Democrat Harry S. Truman. 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: [speaking of Mrs. Gamadge] The only known link between the NAACP and the Ku Klux Klan.
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

Referenced in What's My Line?: Episode dated 12 April 1964 (1964) 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.


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