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The Great McGinty

The Great McGinty, Sturges' first film, tells his prototypical success story in terms of political satire that would do justice to a Mencken or a Dunne. The rise and fall of Dan McGinty begins when he endears himself to the political machine by voting 37 times in a single election; his spectacular career ends as a bartender in a banana republic. In between, he is pushed by boss Akim Tamiroff (whose motto is “America is a land of great opportunity”) into the governor's chair as the stooge to end all stooges. The worm then turns in the most disturbing Sturges manner. The high points are Election Night and Donlevy's gruff rendering of the story of “Muggily-Wump the Tor-toyse,” and the movie's astringent look at American politics still packs considerable bite. Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

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