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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 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:

WHAT MAKES A GREAT PICTURE?...In this case it's a man with a hole in his pants and an empty heart...and two loyal kids who just knew their dad was a great man...and that wonderful, intangible something that makes blood pound faster, brings a lump in the throat, a laugh of gladness, and a precious tear to the eye! Come expecting one of the best pictures you've ever seen! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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:

$84,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Garson Kanin's debut as a film director. See more »

Goofs

When Davy pushes the new kid in the school yard, shadows of the camera and the boom microphone can clearly be seen on the ground behind them. The shadow of the camera then moves as it follows Davy afterwords. See more »

Quotes

Cement Man: [looking down at Davy's posterior impression in the wet cement] Spittin' image of his old man.
See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Cry of Freedom
(1864) (uncredited)
Written by George Frederick Root
Played during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

A Great Man is saved.
5 March 2007 | by mkilmerSee all my reviews

I have nothing objective to add to Theowinthrop's commentary on THE GREAT MAN VOTES here at IMDb, but I want to add my own observations concerning and reactions to the film. It had been only a few months since I'd seen John Barrymore, with Delores Costello in WHEN A MAN LOVES (1927), and I liked this role better than that of a man in love fighting the powers that be for the love of a girl and that girl's honor. Simple stuff.

In this one, Barrymore plays Gregory Vance, a "Great Man" under the thumb of the bottle since the death of the love of his life. He loves his two children, who are part of her, and they believe that he is still a "Great Man." The kids at school label him a drunk, and that's what he is to them.

Hearing Vance speak, learning his history, you know he was a Great Man, and you yearn for him to be one again, for his sake and for that of his children. He has that opportunity, and his children are happy for it. (They kids handle the negotiation. It's splendid.) But does he have to sell his soul, in a manner of speaking, to attain it? There's a heavy streak of partisan politics, though the party name is never specified, and you have a ward boss called Iron Hat who doesn't seem so bad as his awful son.

This movie worked. Since this was Barrymore's last important leading role, he goes out on a wonderful note. And, yes, he played a good drunk.


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