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 <email@example.com>
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 Truman. See more »
When Joe Cantwell (Cliff Robertson) is watching the convention floor on TV monitors and talking on a walkie-talkie he is holding a coffee cup in his right hand when the shot is of his back but it disappears when the shot is from the front. See more »
Gore Vidal's "The Best Man" is one of my favorite films. Though written at a time when political conventions still mattered, the subject matter is still very appropriate. Basic moral questions are asked and soul searching by the thoughtful viewer takes place. How far would you go to win? Would you knowingly slander a political opponent with false information to gain the upper hand? How much of a candidates past is relevant today?
The cast is brilliant. Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Lee Tracy, Ann Sothern, all are wonderful. Mahalia Jackson makes a cameo singing her heart out at a pre-convention gathering. One of the candidates is rumored to have had psychological problems. Womanizing is another issue. There are homosexual rumors flying around concerning another candidate. Another candidate is a racist.
What is really interesting is Vidal's take on the supposed "two party system". In this movie, there is only one party, as the candidate to be nominated is according to the former President "almost certain to become our next President". This is prophetic on Vidal's part, as the two major party's today have drifted so similarly close to each other on many issues, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish them.
To correct the other reviewer of this film, Cliff Robertson does not play a bachelor candidate. Edie Adams does a great job playing his attractive wife.
"The Best Man" is great film, nearly as relevant today, as it was over 40 years ago. Now, if it was only available on DVD.
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