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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

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 3, 1940 with John Barrymore and Virginia Weidler reprising their film roles. 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

Gregory Vance: Gregory Vance, magnified briefly, by a kindly destiny, in a kindly land where... where greatness is within a people, not within a man; and where any man who calls himself great, is only looking at his shadow, from the shoulders of those who have lifted him up. Today, his own feet must carry him. Side by side we walk today, the big and the little, and, those we sometimes call: the down and out. A voter, by the name of Mr. Whittier, once spoke of that. Today, of all the weary year, a king of men ...
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

 
The Great Profile Acts Up
3 April 2015 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Former Harvard professor John Barrymore (as Gregory Vance) lives in a typical 1923 American city, where he works as a lowly night watchman. Unfortunately, Mr. Barrymore has become an alcoholic. Also a widower, Barrymore may lose his two children due to perpetual drunkenness. Pre-teens Virginia Weidler (as Joan) and Peter Holden (as Donald) adore their dad and try to help regulate his alcohol intake. An upcoming election focuses on Barrymore as he is the only registered voter in his precinct. This may have something to do with the precinct's tradition of always voting unanimously. Having his vote count 100% brings Barrymore much attention. He learns how to lay off the sauce, presumably, and gets close to attractive schoolteacher Katharine Alexander (as Agnes Billow)...

Off screen, Barrymore had lost control of his own drinking, but he could still deliver large, succulent slices of acting ham for director Garson Kanin and RKO Radio Pictures. Later roles helped by having Barrymore play an alcoholic. It wasn't all smooth sailing during this film, however. This is the one where Barrymore allegedly threw Miss Weidler across the set. The little scene-stealer was playing with Barrymore's tie while the acclaimed actor was speaking. Notably, Weidler plays practically the entire movie with a black eye. Weidler did not work with Barrymore again, and young Holden never made another film. Making a great impression, the bully who calls Barrymore a "drunk old bummer" is future "Bowery Boys" series regular Bennie Bartlett (as David "Davy" McCarthy).

******The Great Man Votes (1/13/39) Garson Kanin ~ John Barrymore, Virginia Weidler, Peter Holden, Bennie Bartlett


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