The Great McGinty
Stuart Klawans was for many years the award-winning film critic for The Nation and is the author of the new book, Crooked, but Never Common: The Films of Preston Sturges. There will be a book signing on July 30 at 6:30, prior to the screening of The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek.
Brian Donlevy, Muriel Angelus, Akim Tamiroff, William Demarest,
Set in “the mythical city of Chicago in the imaginary state of Illinois,” Preston Sturges’s ferociously funny attack on the American political system is a twist on the Abe Lincoln myth: even a bum, backed by the right machine, can become president. For his first film as director, Sturges enlisted members of the growing stock company of character actors for whom he had been creating roles as a scriptwriter: the inimitable William Demarest walks a fine line between unutterable cynicism and utter stupidity as a poker-faced political hack; Akim Tamiroff is hilarious as the immigrant boss (“in the old country I would have been a baron—a robber baron”); and veteran actor Brian Donlevy is a triumph as McGinty, by day a rubber stamp in a plaid suit, by night a reluctant stepfather whose gruff rendition of “Muggily Wump da Tor-toyse” is a memorable moment in American storytelling.
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