7.7/10
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39 user 24 critic

The Best Man (1964)

Approved | | Drama | 18 June 1964 (West Germany)
The two front runners for their party's presidential nomination, one principled and the other ruthless, vie for the former President's endorsement.

Director:

(as Franklin Schaffner)

Writer:

(screenplay)
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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
...
Alice Russell
...
Sheldon Bascomb
...
President Art Hockstader
...
Sue Ellen Gamadge
...
Don Cantwell
...
Dick Jensen
...
Mahalia Jackson
...
Howard K. Smith
John Henry Faulk ...
Gov. T.T. Claypoole
...
Sen. Oscar Anderson
...
Mrs. Claypoole (scenes deleted)
George Kirgo ...
Speechwriter
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Storyline

Intellectual William Russell and down-to-earth Joe Cantwell are front runners for a party nomination that will almost certainly mean the Presidency. Cantwell is prepared to use anything to achieve his goal while Russell sees himself as a man of principle - though his philandering means he is relieved his wife is prepared to appear alongside him. Both men crucially need the support of the ailing President, and as the stakes become higher each team has to decide how dirty they are prepared to get. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Best Man is Dynamite See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 June 1964 (West Germany)  »

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Lee Tracy's final film before his death on October 18, 1968 at the age of 70. 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

President Art Hockstader: Oh well, the world's sure changed since I was politickin'. In those days, we had to pour God over everything like ketchup.
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 »

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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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