Three vignettes of old Irish country life, based on a series of short stories. In "The Majesty of the Law," a police officer must arrest a very old-fashioned, traditional fellow for assault... See full summary »
John Ford weaves three "Judge Priest" stories together to form a good- natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Judge William ... See full summary »
An aging politician tries to get re-elected one last time in the changing world of the 1950s when TV started to play a bigger part in politics. Based loosely on the career of multi-term Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, this film examines the good and evil inherent in politics and all the things that go into an election. Tracy's uphill battle to stay in office is set against the political machinery that preyed on ethnic hatred and old-time money.Written by
Early in the film one of Skeffington's advisors says of another candidate ' an Arab would have a better chance of becoming Mayor of Tel Aviv', Skeffington says 'remember the recent Lord Mayor of Dublin'. This is a reference to the 1956 election of Robert Briscoe the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, he was the son of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants and after the second World War acted as a special advisor to Menachem Begin in the transformation of Irgun from a paramilitary group into a political movement and later into the Likud party. See more »
When Frank Jr. bursts into the bedroom to see his dying Father, the doorknob comes apart and the interior knob falls off. The Doctor immediately follows him into the room, and the doorknob is once again intact. See more »
John Ford certainly does capture the spirit of how James Michael Curley would like to have been remembered. It's how he wrote his memoirs and how Edwin O'Connor wrote that brilliant piece of fiction.
Curley was a demagogue par excellence. He played ethnic politics to the hilt. He served one term as governor of Massachusetts and that term was noted for an outrageous scandal in which pardons were sold to prisoners who could cough up the money. And he was always the victim of those nasty Yankee patriarchs.
Spencer Tracy does a great job in cleaning up the Curley image and the rest of the cast is fine. I would like to call attention to two actors who typified the cultural divide that James Michael Curley never attempted to bridge in his lifetime, unlike in this film.
Willis Bouchey playing Roger Sugrue, disparagingly referred to as the Papal Knight, is this rabidly bigoted Roman Catholic who is forever finding fault with the rest of humanity and criticizing those of his fellow Catholics who are not as good as he. He nearly has a stroke after seeing a Monsignor played by Ken Curtis on TV playing golf with a rabbi. No wonder Donald Crisp playing the Cardinal refers to him as "that horrible man, Roger Sugrue."
And the other side of the coin is John Carradine playing Amos Force the descendant of old line Puritans who is as bigoted in his way as Roger Sugrue is in his. It's alluded to that back in the 1920s Carradine was in the Ku Klux Klan and you can believe it from Carradine's portrayal.
Bouchey and Carradine are the two best in a cast that is saturated with John Ford favorites. As a lesson in respect for diversity, The Last Hurrah has a lot to say. History it's not though.
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