Thursday, June 18, 2015

Film Pairings — Of Crime And Politics

With all the political buzz these days, it seemed like the right time to revisit two old politics-oriented classics in film. Both have historical underpinnings and are based on popular novels by well-regarded authors. Also, considerable cinematic talent went into their making.

Charles Laughton And Walter Pidgeon
Advise & Consent — The 1962 film was criticized at the time for suggesting that some of our politicians were corrupt and that the making of laws was not always in the best interests of the citizenry.  Otto Preminger directed this film based on Allen Drury’s best-seller by the same name. Historians and those around long enough might well pick up allusions to real-life personages.  The film is also loaded with some of Hollywood’s best character actors.  My favorites here are Charles Laughton who played a particularly nasty southern Senator and Lew Ayres as the ineffectual vice president.   Look for Franchot Tone, Gene Tierney, Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon, Paul Ford, Burgess Meredith, Don Murray and Peter Lawford as well as a cameo by Betty White. It might be interesting to note that this moderately cynical film was released a year before Kennedy’s assassination and before other events (Vietnam for one) also pointed to the loss of America’s innocence

Broderick Crawford
All The King’s Men – People of my advanced age will always remember a hefty, gravel-voiced Broderick Crawford standing just outside his cop car yelling “ten four” into the radio mic on TV’s “Highway Patrol.” However he had quite a film career before he was squeezed into the small screen.  And his performance here earned him an Academy Award. Robert Penn Warren wrote this fine novel that was the basis of several adaptations, including this 1949 U.S. film and a second not particularly successful remake in 2006. In addition to Crawford as a Huey Long –type politician, Joanne Dru, John Ireland, John Derek and Mercedes McCambridge (who also picked up an Academy Award), starred. Character actor Paul Ford played a similar roles in both films in today’s pairing. Directed by Robert Rossen, this is generally considered to be an essentially true story and cinema noir at its best .

Cocktails of any type (with or without alcohol) or Southern Comfort might go well with this double feature.

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