Best Picture: All the King’s Men

All_the_King's_Men_(1949_movie_poster)Man is concieved in sin and born in corruption. – Willie Stark

The 1949 Best Picture winner is a story of a man, Willie Stark, who rises from a country soap box crier to Governor of his state.  Based loosely on the life of Huey Long, it deals with power, the rhetoric of politics, and the corruption that can occur when one is in control.

It took me a while to get into this movie.  The first section got me riled up at the political machine Stark rightly fights against, but some of the momentum is lost as the movie jumps ahead years at a time through montage sequences meant to condense the story.  The changes in Stark are not subtle, and largely happen off screen.  What is more apparent are the changes in the people who work with and around Stark, and how their lives change through their interactions with the man.

Over all, I didn’t think this movie was particularly good.  While I didn’t hate it, there wasn’t a lot of surprise in what happens to anyone during the film.  Maybe there’s just enough of a difference between a 1940’s audience and now that what the movie has lost some of its edge.   In any event, it’s one I doubt I’ll watch again.

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