Ken Burns' portrait of Louisiana governor/U.S. senator Huey Long.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Huey Long ...
Himself (archive footage)
Russell Long ...
Himself (as Russell B. Long)
David McCullough ...
Narrator
Jennings Randolph ...
Himself - Senator of West Virginia
...
Himself
I.F. Stone ...
Himself
...
Himself
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Ken Burns' portrait of Louisiana governor/U.S. senator Huey Long.

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28 September 1985 (USA)  »

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Narrator: In 1932, two years after he was elected to the Senate, his hand-picked slate swept the state wide election. The new governor-elect was Oscar "Okay" Allen, a boyhood friend. And so agreeable, according to Long's younger brother Earl, that when a leaf blew onto his desk one morning, Allen signed it.
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outstanding documentary on superlative political shenaniggins
5 January 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Ken Burns makes some wonderful documentaries, and this two hour special on one of America's most colourful politicians is first rate.

Huey Long was Governor and then a Senator of Louisiana in the 1920s and 30s. When he was assassinated in 1934 he had a complete stranglehold on the state legislature, controlling the state militia and several local police forces, as well as the board of education. He was also making plans to run in the next presidential elections against Franklin Roosevelt.

Burns not only documents these facts - he is a shrewd journalist and appreciates the need for balance. He interviews many people, many of whom believed Huey Long to be a good politician. He did take Louisianans out of the mud by building miles of roads and bridges over the Mississippi - all at public expense. He was the Keynesian economist's dream without knowing it, but would have hated being described as a Liberal.

But watch the film. It is a marvellous insight into the American political process, and shows how one man can exploit the system even though there are supposed to be measures in place to avoid this.


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