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The Man (1972)

G | | Drama | 19 July 1972 (USA)
An African-American senator becomes the designated survivor of a tragic accident that kills the President of the United States. Now the first black President, he attempts to end the bigotry and divide standing in his way.

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Writers:

Irving Wallace (novel), Rod Serling (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Earl Jones ... Douglass Dilman
Martin Balsam ... Jim Talley
Burgess Meredith ... Senator Watson
Lew Ayres ... Noah Calvin
William Windom ... Arthur Eaton
Barbara Rush ... Kay Eaton
Georg Stanford Brown ... Robert Wheeler
Janet MacLachlan ... Wanda
Martin E. Brooks ... Wheeler's Lawyer (as Martin Brooks)
Simon Scott Simon Scott ... Hugh Gaynor
Patric Knowles ... South African Consul
Robert DoQui ... Webson
Anne Seymour ... Ma Blore
Edward Faulkner ... Secret Service Man
Gilbert Green Gilbert Green ... Congressman Hand
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Storyline

When the President and Speaker of the House are killed in a building collapse, and the Vice-President declines the office due to age and ill-health, Senate President pro tempore Douglas Dilman (James Earl Jones) suddenly becomes the first black man to occupy the Oval Office. The events from that day to the next election when he must decide if he will actually run challenge his skills as a politician and leader. Written by Kevin Lantry

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It took an accident to make this man President of the United States. What they do to him now won't be an accident. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

G
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 July 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La loi de succession See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Earl Jones was interviewed about portraying a fictional black U.S. president a few days before Barack Obama was sworn in as President. Jones said that he had misgivings about the film, mostly because they were blindsided when the project (which was planned and budgeted as a TV movie) was released in theaters, and he wished that they'd had more time and resources to make a stronger final film. See more »

Quotes

Douglass Dilman: When you justify murder in the name of morality, you've done nothing but murder your morality.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Starvation
1 March 2016 | by inspectors71See all my reviews

Not just another cheap, throwaway ABC Movie of the Week, Joseph Sargent's The Man, written for the screen by Rod Serling and based on an Irving Wallace novel, this movie has the potential to be a very good political thriller. The performances are from journeyman to excellent, the dialogue, at times, crackles, and the story is a mixture of the catastrophic and the mundane (the death of the president and speaker of the house being the former and the pervasive racial dismissiveness directed toward James Earl Jones' president pro tempore-to-president is the latter).

Yet.

It's obvious ABC got a higher quality product than they wanted. The Movie of the Week series cranked out one piece of clichéd garbage after another during its 1969-1976 run, and the occasional brilliance (That Certain Summer, Katherine, Duel come to mind) would catch everyone by surprise.

What do you do with something good, when you're regularly paying for crap?

Sheesh, people might begin to expect quality.

So, ABC puts The Man into limited release. The movie looks like a TV flick because it's on a MOTW budget. Probably made $37.26 nationwide. That'll teach 'em to make something good!

But.

I'd put The Man in the box set of post-Twilight Zone Rod Serling work along with the white-knuckled Seven Days in May, the original Planet of the Apes, and some of the better episodes of The Night Gallery. Serling was a great writer, but the trouble with The Man is that it's so starved for time and funds, so shoestrung by lowest common denominatorism from the network, that the movie never gels.

That's catastrophic for the viewer and mundane for the world of networkthink.


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