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Told in flashback, Depression-era bum Dan McGinty is recruited by the city's political machine to help with vote fraud. His great aptitude for this brings rapid promotion from "the boss," who finally decides he'd be ideal as a new, nominally "reform" mayor; but this candidacy requires marriage. His in-name-only marriage to honest Catherine proves the beginning of the end for dishonest Dan...Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The conventional wisdom on McGINTY is that it's lesser Sturges, more important as his directorial debut than as a standalone comedy. Pish and tosh. This is a supremely satisfying comedy and had it been Sturges' only directing credit, would still mark him as a filmmaker to remember. (And, no, that's not a subtle swipe at his others, merely a defense of this too-often overlooked movie.)Maybe the best asset of McGINTY is its budget constraint, which steered Sturges towards the 'ensemble' casting which would become one of his hallmarks. The movie is filled stem to stern with sharp-eyed turns by primarily supporting players (including the leads, Donlevy & Tamiroff, who are excellent). What I can't help but notice is how the Sturges films of the 40s are really the last gasp of the great breakneck comedies of the pre-Code 30s, just prior to the 'screwball' era, when Hollywood was still allowed to poke fun at people/institutions/conventions of the Real World. In fact, McGINTY -with only minor casting changes- would have fit right in with the Warner Bros/First National bumper crop of fast, cynical comedies of '31-'34. (And, by the way, Tamiroff's cheerfully corrupt and malapropping Boss would be paid hilarious homage 20+ years later in animation form as Boris Badinov in Jay Ward's ROCKY & BULLWINKLE cartoons.) The love interest of Muriel Angelus, and adjoining subplot, may come off a bit treacly, but Sturges was canny enough to make this studio-mandated mawkishness an integral part of the plot...even as early as 1940, he was subverting True Love to his devilishly satiric purposes! So stop nitpicking and thoroughly enjoy one of the great American comedies, brought to unforgettable life by that great if unrecognized repertory company, The Sturges Players (featuring, among others, Wm Demarest, Thurston Hall & Arthur Hoyt).
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