6.7/10
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17 user 3 critic

The Great Man Votes (1939)

Passed | | Drama | 13 January 1939 (USA)
In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what ... See full summary »

Director:

Garson Kanin

Writers:

Gordon Malherbe Hillman (story), John Twist (screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Barrymore ... Gregory Vance
Peter Holden Peter Holden ... Donald
Virginia Weidler ... Joan
Katharine Alexander ... Miss Billow
Donald MacBride ... Iron Hat McCarthy
Benny Bartlett ... Davy McCarthy (as Bennie Bartlett)
Brandon Tynan ... Chester Ainslee
Elisabeth Risdon ... Phoebe Ainslee
Granville Bates ... The Mayor
Luis Alberni ... Manos
J.M. Kerrigan ... Hot Shot Gillings
William Demarest ... Charles Dale
Roy Gordon Roy Gordon ... Mr. Byrne
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Storyline

In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what he is and what he isn't, are his only admirers. Then, it is discovered that he is the only registered voter in a key precinct and the politicians, from both parties, arrive in droves bearing inducements. What he does about this situation, and the relatives who want to take his children away from him make up the story. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A MAN WITH A HOLE IN HIS PANTS (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Garson Kanin wrote that he insisted that everyone working on the film call John Barrymore "Mr. Barrymore" in a attempt to perk up the actor's sagging self-image, including people who had known Barrymore for years. Several members of the crew quit the film instead of following Kanin's edict. See more »

Goofs

Impressions in the wet cement change greatly from the shot where Davy is pulled from it to the close-up of the cement worker looking down at it in the trough. See more »

Quotes

Miss Billow: I never thought a meringue pie could make so lovely a speech.
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits are presented on four-sided campaign-like signs mounted on poles and carried around as if in a parade. See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Cry of Freedom
(1864) (uncredited)
Written by George Frederick Root
Played during the opening credits
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User Reviews

 
A short but delightful comedy which is surprisingly well crafted.
4 February 2000 | by bobc-5See all my reviews

For a movie which is little more than a light diversion, this turns out to be constructed with a surprisingly high level of craftsmanship and sensitivity. I would find it difficult to believe that anyone could dislike this short but delightful comedy.

On the surface, the movie is about a group of local politicians whose spin doctors have managed to use the media to manipulate the public to the point that the vote of one "great" man will determine the entire outcome of the elections. Ignore the specifics and this political satire is as relevant today as it was when it was made 60 years ago. But the real story is about a father's love for his children and this is what truly makes him "the great man". It isn't presented with much depth - what can you expect from a short simple comedy? - but it is done with enough sensitivity to create a real feeling of warmth and affection.

All of it's characters could easily have lost their humanity by falling into predictable stereotypes, but the movie manages to completely avoid this. The main character is continually drunk, but he never has to resort to slurring or stumbling to portray this, and his drunkenness is never exploited for a cheap laugh. His two precocious children manage to entertain without ever having to be excessively cute. It's rare to see a low budget comedy which has the confidence to show this kind of restraint. The confidence is well deserved; this is a movie which is sure to put a smile on your face.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

13 January 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il voto del grand'uomo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$265,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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