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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 ... 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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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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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

When the children at school recite the Pledge of Allegiance, they hold their arms straight out toward the flag in salute, instead of holding their hands over their hearts, and they omit the phrase "under God," which wasn't added to the pledge until 1954, 15 years after this film was made. 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.
See more »

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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Like a train wreck
5 April 2016 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Watching John Barrymore's last films is like watching a train wreck and we do have a fascination with disaster of all kind. Knowing that Barrymore was given to the inebriation he portrays on the screen it's like rubbernecking when you watch his last films like The Great Man Votes.

In The Great Man Votes Barrymore is 57 and he must have married real late in life to have fathered children the age of Virginia Weidler and Peter Holden. He's a former scholar who has gone to seed living in a rat trap filled with books and he certainly has given his kids one classical education beyond their years. A great bit of home schooling but his kids aren't exactly ready for the social aspects of the outside world. Especially for a bully like Bennie Bartlett who's dad Donald MacBride is the ward boss of the district where in the particular precinct Barrymore and the kids live, Jack is the only registered voter. Bartlett was the best one in the film.

For reasons that were never satisfactorily explained to me Barrymore's vote in carrying the district 1 to 0 for MacBride and his party take on a great significance. So he's courted and feted while at the same time Barrymore has a custody fight going with his late wife's family for the kids.

In Margot Peters book about the Barrymore clan she goes into some description of Jack's decline. He had an incident with Virginia Weidler when she was trying to steal a scene. Did not show the aging matinée idol in the greatest light.

The Great Man Votes is supposed to be political satire, but it really never accomplishes the goal. It might have been better handled by Preston Sturges and a year later in The Great McGinty he showed how these kinds of films are to be made.


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