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The Great McGinty (1940)

Passed | | Comedy | 23 August 1940 (USA)
Dan McGinty has great success in his chosen field of crooked politics, but he endangers it all in one crazy moment of honesty.

Director:

Preston Sturges

Writer:

Preston Sturges
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Donlevy ... Dan McGinty
Muriel Angelus ... Catherine McGinty
Akim Tamiroff ... The Boss
Allyn Joslyn ... George
William Demarest ... Skeeters - The Politician
Louis Jean Heydt ... Tommy Thompson
Harry Rosenthal Harry Rosenthal ... Louie - The Boss' Bodyguard
Arthur Hoyt ... Mayor Wilfred H. Tillinghast
Libby Taylor Libby Taylor ... Bessy - The Colored Maid
Thurston Hall ... Mr. Maxwell
Steffi Duna ... The Dancing Girl
Esther Howard ... Madame Juliette La Jolla
Frank Moran ... The Boss' Chauffeur (as Frank C. Moran)
Jimmy Conlin ... The Lookout - At Felgman's
Dewey Robinson ... Benny Felgman
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Storyline

Told in flashback, Depression-era bum Dan McGinty is recruited by the city's political machine to help with vote fraud. His great aptitude for this brings rapid promotion from "the boss," who finally decides he'd be ideal as a new, nominally "reform" mayor; but this candidacy requires marriage. His in-name-only marriage to honest Catherine proves the beginning of the end for dishonest Dan... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HE'LL TAKE YOU...and MAKE YOU LAUGH! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

23 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Biograhy of a Bum See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on August 27, 1945 with Brian Donlevy and Akim Tamiroff reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

When McGinty enters the hall after being elected mayor, a moving shadow of the camera is visible on a pillar in the foreground. See more »

Quotes

Skeeters: What do you think this is, Hicks Corners? Some people is too lazy to vote, that's all. They don't like this kind of weather. Some of 'em is sick in bed and can't vote. Maybe a couple of 'em croaked recently. That ain't no reason why Mayor Tillinghast should get cheated out of their support. All we're doing is getting out the vote.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Jerk (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Louise
Written by Richard A. Whiting and Leo Robin
Played on piano
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Looks like the suit got YOU!
7 August 2000 | by fowler1See all my reviews

The conventional wisdom on McGINTY is that it's lesser Sturges, more important as his directorial debut than as a standalone comedy. Pish and tosh. This is a supremely satisfying comedy and had it been Sturges' only directing credit, would still mark him as a filmmaker to remember. (And, no, that's not a subtle swipe at his others, merely a defense of this too-often overlooked movie.)Maybe the best asset of McGINTY is its budget constraint, which steered Sturges towards the 'ensemble' casting which would become one of his hallmarks. The movie is filled stem to stern with sharp-eyed turns by primarily supporting players (including the leads, Donlevy & Tamiroff, who are excellent). What I can't help but notice is how the Sturges films of the 40s are really the last gasp of the great breakneck comedies of the pre-Code 30s, just prior to the 'screwball' era, when Hollywood was still allowed to poke fun at people/institutions/conventions of the Real World. In fact, McGINTY -with only minor casting changes- would have fit right in with the Warner Bros/First National bumper crop of fast, cynical comedies of '31-'34. (And, by the way, Tamiroff's cheerfully corrupt and malapropping Boss would be paid hilarious homage 20+ years later in animation form as Boris Badinov in Jay Ward's ROCKY & BULLWINKLE cartoons.) The love interest of Muriel Angelus, and adjoining subplot, may come off a bit treacly, but Sturges was canny enough to make this studio-mandated mawkishness an integral part of the plot...even as early as 1940, he was subverting True Love to his devilishly satiric purposes! So stop nitpicking and thoroughly enjoy one of the great American comedies, brought to unforgettable life by that great if unrecognized repertory company, The Sturges Players (featuring, among others, Wm Demarest, Thurston Hall & Arthur Hoyt).


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