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09/22/2006 Archived Entry: ""All the King's Men" (the good version)"

THE NEW FILM OF ALL THE KING'S MEN is getting savagely bad reviews. But that just gives an excuse to re-visit the the fantastic 1949 version.

That film won the Best Picture Oscar and a Best Actor award for Broderick Crawford. Crawford plays Willy Stark, an idealistic populist from a dirt-poor background who rises to political office despite the machinations of corrupt men -- then becomes a monster of oozing corruption himself, all the while promising and doling out endless tax-funded services. (The character is based on Huey "Kingfish" Long of Louisiana.)

Usually when I watch 50-year-old "classics," I'm disappointed. They're too slow, too stagey, too unrealistic. I can see that they were good in their day, but they don't look so good now. (Filmmaking improved a lot starting about 1975, IMHO.) But the 1949 All the King's Men just blew me away. Other than being in black & white, it could have been made yesterday. It's dynamite. Whether you bother with the new version or not, check out the original on DVD.

Posted by Claire @ 08:30 AM CST

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