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The Great McGinty (1940)

Passed | | Comedy | 23 August 1940 (USA)
Trailer
1:38 | Trailer
Dan McGinty has great success in his chosen field of crooked politics, but he endangers it all in one crazy moment of honesty.

Director:

Preston Sturges

Writer:

Preston Sturges
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Donlevy ... Dan McGinty
Muriel Angelus ... Catherine McGinty
Akim Tamiroff ... The Boss
Allyn Joslyn ... George
William Demarest ... Skeeters - The Politician
Louis Jean Heydt ... Tommy Thompson
Harry Rosenthal Harry Rosenthal ... Louie - The Boss' Bodyguard
Arthur Hoyt ... Mayor Wilfred H. Tillinghast
Libby Taylor Libby Taylor ... Bessy - The Colored Maid
Thurston Hall ... Mr. Maxwell
Steffi Duna ... The Dancing Girl
Esther Howard ... Madame Juliette La Jolla
Frank Moran ... The Boss' Chauffeur (as Frank C. Moran)
Jimmy Conlin ... The Lookout - At Felgman's
Dewey Robinson ... Benny Felgman
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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Taglines:

It's Two-Fisted FUN! A fightin' fool gives you laughter of a lifetime..! (original ad) See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was inspired, according to Kevin Brownlow, in part by the career of early 20th century politician and lawyer William Sulzer. The film was released a year before Sulzer's death at the age of 78. See more »

Goofs

In his victory parade as governor, McGinty rides in a car and it is clear he does not have a mustache. In the next scene, which takes place the same day at the state capitol, he has a mustache. See more »

Quotes

Dan McGinty: You got me all a tremble. I bet you're scared to death of yourself.
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Connections

Referenced in Preston Sturges and 'The Miracle of Morgan's Creek' (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
Traditional song
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User Reviews

 
Preston Sturges Begins His Golden Five Years
9 July 2006 | by geoffparfittSee all my reviews

In his golden five years 1940-44, Preston Sturges was the writer & director for eight movies for Paramount, ALL GOOD and MOST of them BRILLIANT.

I first came to know these movies when five of them were shown on the BBC at Christmas in the early 1990's, including my personal favourites 'The Lady Eve' and 'The Palm Beach Story'. Since then I have had to wait for the invention of the DVD, and then last year's Preston Sturges DVD box set, when at last I could check out the other three.

Of those three, 'The Great McGinty' was the first movie to be "Written & Directed by Preston Sturges", and has to go into the GOOD rather than the BRILLIANT category. But for his first such project to be so good has got to be seen as a brilliant achievement for Sturges. I know how long he had to wait, and how hard he had to bargain to get that opportunity. He knew he had to succeed, not in his own terms but in those of his bosses at Paramount. In other words he had to bring in an economical movie that was conventional enough to be popular with audiences and critics alike.

The lead, Brian Donleavy plays McGinty as quite a straight character who has comic moments in set pieces with other players. The best comedy of the movie probably comes from Bill Demarest as "the Politician" and especially Akim Tamiroff as "the Boss", who drives the movie and its plot along, as he pushes McGinty and his career forward.

The second movie in the Preston Sturges golden period would be 'Christmas in July', again not one of his brilliant best, but beginning to include more of the lunacy and eccentric characters of a true Preston Sturges movie. By the time of his third project 'The Lady Eve', Sturges would be at the top of his form and the top of his art, and 'The Great McGinty' has to be seen not only as a good movie in itself, but as the first step in that direction.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

23 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Biograhy of a Bum See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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