Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge, John Ireland
ALL THE KING'S MEN (1949). Director: Robert Rossen.

All the King's Men traces the parallel rise and fall of Willie Stark (Broderick Crawford of Scandal Sheet) and a reporter, Jack Burden (John Ireland), who's covering his story as he goes up against seemingly impossible odds to become governor. Just as Stark wants to prove himself to the public and his cronies, Jack needs to prove himself to his fiancee, Anne (Joanne Dru), who has been raised by her presumably incorruptible uncle, Judge Stanton (Raymond Greenleaf of Over-Exposed). Stark, however, is certainly not incorruptible, as power goes to his head and his path leads inexorably to tragedy. Others in his orbit include his wife (Anne Seymour); his mistress-associate, Sadie (Mercedes McCambridge); his son, Tom (John Derek); and Anne's brother, Adam (Shepperd Strudwick of Three Husbands). All the King's Men is an absorbing and well-acted film, although none of the players. including Crawford, are especially outstanding (although Crawford and McCambridge won Oscars, along with the picture itself). Ralph Dumke and Walter Burke have smaller roles. The score is by Louis Gruenberg, and Burnett Guffey is director of photography. A similar plot was used for the later A Lion is in the Streets, in which James Cagney also played a Willie Stark-type. Remade in 2006.

Verdict: Solid drama with an interesting cast. ***.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill - welcome back! Can you believe I have never seen this one? Mercedes McCambridge's Oscar role, plus Ireland, Crawford and a wonderful supporting cast? :pove mccambridge in Johnny Guitar and in her small but key role in Giant, and of course as the voice of the Demon in The Exorcist, for which she had to sue to get credited for (and lost Linda Blair the Oscar that year!).
This looks like a very timely film to watch, themewise, so I am excited!

William said...

Hope you enjoy it! Beware the remake! McCambridge was especially good in "Johnny Guitar."