6.9/10
298
13 user 4 critic

The Great Man (1956)

Approved | | Drama | December 1956 (USA)
Joe Harris, preparing a eulogy for popular radio commentator Herb Fuller, finds that nobody has a good word to say about him.

Director:

José Ferrer

Writers:

Al Morgan (screenplay), José Ferrer (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
José Ferrer ... Joe Harris
Dean Jagger ... Philip Carleton
Keenan Wynn ... Sid Moore
Julie London ... Carol Larson
Joanne Gilbert Joanne Gilbert ... Ginny
Ed Wynn ... Paul Beaseley
Jim Backus ... Nick Cellantano
Russ Morgan Russ Morgan ... Eddie Brand
Edward Platt ... Dr. O'Connor (as Edward C. Platt)
Robert Foulk ... Mike Jackson
Lyle Talbot ... Harry Connors
Vinton Hayworth ... Charley Carruthers
Henny Backus Henny Backus ... Mrs. Helen Rieber
Janie Alexander Janie Alexander ... Mary Browne
Vikki Dougan ... Marcia Miller - Receptionist
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Storyline

On the death of popular national radio commentator Herb Fuller, underling Joe Harris undertakes to prepare an hour long, eulogistic program featuring interviews with Fuller's friends. But, though Fuller was beloved by 150 million of what all the pros term the "great unwashed," all Harris can find is victims, cynical users, and outright enemies of Fuller. Is this where the magic of editing comes in? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Everybody loved the Great Man except those who hated his guts! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Luz de uma Ilusão See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Loosely based on the career of Arthur Godfrey. See more »

Goofs

When Joe, Mike, and Jinny are listening to the "blood bank" tape, the VU meter has no relation to the audio. See more »

Quotes

Joe Harris: [First, & Last, lines] It all started on a Tuesday. It was a Tuesday like any other Tuesday.
See more »

Connections

Version of Pretendent (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
Music by Thomas Hastings
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE GREAT MAN (Jose' Ferrer, 1956) ***1/2
10 January 2014 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

The immense influence Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE (1941) has had on the language of cinema is well documented. So, to a lesser degree, is the freedom it gave film-makers – not always of comparable talent – towards (vaguely autobiographical) self-indulgence in their work. Yet another ripple it undeniably created (actually borrowed from THE POWER AND THE GLORY {1933}, which I own but have yet to watch!) led to a whole series of films taking a sour look at the American dream, depicting – via their flashback structure – the rise and fall of a successful but, at heart, unscrupulous public figure. Among these are RUTHLESS (1948), ALL ABOUT EVE (1950), THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952), Welles' own MR. ARKADIN aka CONFIDENTIAL REPORT (1955), THE Oscar (1966), etc.

THE GREAT MAN, then, is one such effort – and an unfairly neglected example into the bargain (even if both the Leslie Halliwell and Leonard Maltin movie guides are duly complimentary in their assessment)…which rather suggests that it stands up better than other, more renowned titles in this vein! It also emerges as the most significant directorial venture by star/co-writer Ferrer. For the record, I own all 7 of the pictures he helmed – but, perhaps tellingly, this was only the second I have checked out (and which I opted to watch on the occasion of his birthday). Given the Oscar winner's reputation as a thespian, his choice of 'personal' projects was – for the most part – curiously bland and commercial in nature!

Setting this apart from the established formula is the fact that the subject of the expose' is never shown; we only learn about him – and, consequently, formulate our own opinion – from the way others (who knew him intimately, professionally or just vicariously through his popular radio show) react to news of his passing in a traffic accident. Besides, running concurrently with the main plot (the compiling of information by a small-time radio personality – played by Ferrer himself – for a "heart-rending" eulogy, to be delivered in a live broadcast by the network to commemorate "the great man") are the hero's conflicting emotions about his increasingly unpleasant and "phoney" task…especially since he was being all but promoted as the deceased's successor on the airwaves!

Ultimately, the trump-cards here – which make all the difference – are the smartly cynical script (co-adapted by novel author Al Morgan) and a first-rate cast that, apart from Ferrer (in fine form), includes: real-life father and son Ed and Keenan Wynn (credited with, respectively, discovering and nurturing the ungrateful and opportunistic titular character); Julie London (as a chanteuse and his alcoholic mistress); and Dean Jagger (as the Machiavellian network head). Incidentally, the copy I viewed of this one was pretty substandard for the digital era (which has well and truly spoiled us movie-buffs, it must be said!) and, while a somewhat better-quality version does exist online, I had difficulty acquiring it...


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