Jack Burden is a newspaper reporter who first hears of Willie Stark when his editor sends him to Kanoma County to cover the man. What's special about this nobody running for county treasurer? He's supposedly an honest man. Burden discovers this to be true when he sees Stark delivering a speech and having his son pass out handbills, while the local politicians do their best to intimidate him. Willie Stark is honest and brave. He's also a know-nothing hick whose schoolteacher wife has given him what little education he has. Stark loses the race for treasurer, but later makes his way through law school, becoming an idealistic attorney who fights for what is good. Someone in the governor's employ remembers Stark when the governor needs a patsy to run against him and split the vote of his rival. The fat cats underestimate Stark; but Jack Burden, Stark's biggest supporter, overestimates the man's idealism. To get where he wants to go, Willie Stark is willing to crack a few eggs - which ...Written by
Al Clark did the original cut but had trouble putting all the footage that Robert Rossen had shot into a coherent narrative. Robert Parrish was brought onboard by Rossen and Harry Cohn, to see what he could do. Since Rossen had a hard time cutting anything he shot, after several weeks of tinkering and cutting, the movie was still over 250 minutes long. Cohn was prepared to release it in this version after one more preview, but this threw Rossen into a panic, so Rossen came up with a novel solution. Rossen told Parrish to "[s]elect what you consider to be the centre of each scene, put the film in the synch machine and wind down a hundred feet before and a hundred feet after, and chop it off, regardless of what's going on. Cut through dialogue, music, anything. Then, when you're finished, we'll run the picture and see what we've got". When Parrish was done with what Rossen had suggested, they were left with a 109-minute movie that was more compelling to watch. After the film won its Academy Award for Best Picture, Cohn repeatedly gave Parrish credit for saving the film, even though Parrish only did what Rossen told him to do. See more »
When the doctor is playing a waltz at the piano, the right hand portion of the music continues even when he lifts his right hand -- twice! -- to pick up a drink. See more »
Every dog has his day. Broderick Crawford (sometimes remembered for the TV series "Highway Patrol") hit the zenith of his career with an Oscar winning performance. As Willie Stark he reeks of the abuse of power we have seen in the year's since. Never again does Crawford turn himself loose in a role that was really written for him. (In Highway Patrol all the chases were shot on private land - Crawford's driving license was revoked for numerous DUI infractions). You can't leave out Mercedes McCambridge. She is the perfect second lead. Her performance is filled with depth. Mercedes is the role model for today's woman. Tough yet filled with compassion. She and Crawford provide sensation entertainment without one frame of CGI. If you haven't seen this film, rent it, buy it or go to a retrospective. Your film going life is incomplete without a viewing.
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