The Best Man (1964) Other movies recommended for you
The Best Man(in Hollywood Movies) The Best Man (1964) - Download Movie for mobile in best quality 3gp and mp4 format. Also stream The Best Man on your mobile, tablets and ipads
Plot: Intellectual William Russell and down-to-earth Joe Cantwell are front runners for a party nomination that will almost certainly mean the Presidency. Cantwell is prepared to use anything to achieve his goal while Russell sees himself as a man of principle - though his philandering means he is… Runtime: 102 min Release Date: 18 Jun 1964
A sharp as nails look at US politics, maybe a bit old fashioned, but in a good way, with great performances and writing, and very well put together. It pits the packaged candidate of "the people", a scary Cliff Robertson against the principled liberal played by Henry Fonda, with Lee Tracy as the dying ex-president whose endorsement both vie for. While he favors Robertson for his decisiveness, he fears his utter lack of principles, but can't support the wavering Fonda. Sex, mental illness, shady characters dredged up by political operatives in this case a great part by Shelley <more>
Berman , the fabulous portrayals of both of the wives especially a cute and dangerous Edie Adams , the film transcends the characters, and hits home as much today as when it came out in 1964.
Gore Vidal's "The Best Man" is one of my favorite films. Though written at a time when political conventions still mattered, the subject matter is still very appropriate. Basic moral questions are asked and soul searching by the thoughtful viewer takes place. How far would you go to win? Would you knowingly slander a political opponent with false information to gain the upper hand? How much of a candidates past is relevant today? The cast is brilliant. Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Lee Tracy, Ann Sothern, all are wonderful. Mahalia Jackson makes a cameo singing her heart out at <more>
a pre-convention gathering. One of the candidates is rumored to have had psychological problems. Womanizing is another issue. There are homosexual rumors flying around concerning another candidate. Another candidate is a racist.What is really interesting is Vidal's take on the supposed "two party system". In this movie, there is only one party, as the candidate to be nominated is according to the former President "almost certain to become our next President". This is prophetic on Vidal's part, as the two major party's today have drifted so similarly close to each other on many issues, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish them.To correct the other reviewer of this film, Cliff Robertson does not play a bachelor candidate. Edie Adams does a great job playing his attractive wife."The Best Man" is great film, nearly as relevant today, as it was over 40 years ago. Now, if it was only available on DVD.
..just a little saner than Huey P. Long... (by fimimix)
"The Best Man" shows only A PART of the shenanigans that politicians use to win, at all costs. I can't, at this minute, remember the title of the film based-on Gov Huey P. Long of Louisiana; I do, because I'm from that part of the country and knew some of the Long family."Wm. Russell" Henry Fonda is a rarity, the unknown character of honest men involved in government since Jimmy Carter. If you know anything about his administration, you'll remember he was powerless because he would not deal with crooked politicians. "Joe Cantwell" Cliff Robertson <more>
is the epitome of corruption and scandal-mongering. Kevin McCartney's role as the "whistle-blower" who's attempting to provide evidence that "Cantwell" was involved with soldiers being discharged for homosexual activity, is right-on. You just know that "Cantwell" was guilty, too; "Mabel Cantwell's" Edie Adams reaction to the possibility the situation was about to be exposed should tell the story. Lee Tracy as former President Art Hockstader was brilliantly played, a wily ole fox. That "Russells" refused to get involved with mud-slinging and throwing his influence behind one of the 2nd-tier candidates is a testament of how desperate this country is for a moral government, and seems unable to achieve it. FDR knew how to get results, but his drawing this country from the dregs of The Depression and leading the USA to become the greatest country yet, is a testament to how beloved he was. I recall seeing him in an open jeep in a parade , with no security-guards....There must be politicians like "Russell," but they don't seem to be able to become known to the voters. All the hype on the current 2007 presidential campaign is a prime example. "The Best Man" was heart-warming. I enjoyed every role, especially Ann Sothern and Mahalia Jackson. Let's have more of these enlightening films. Everyone should see it.
Gore Vidal was a TV fixture during the Vietnam War era using his wild wit to lay low conservatives such as William F. Buckley Jr. Vidal was also one of the most gifted and talented political playwrights of the period. "The Best Man" is one of his best works. Obviously Henry Fonda as Presidential hopeful William Russell represents the "egghead" Adlai Stevenson. Fonda even physically resembles Stevenson. Cliff Robertson as Presidential hopeful Joe Cantwell is a dead ringer for Richard Milhous Nixon. Ironically Robertson would use Hollywood politics to snatch the Oscar a few <more>
years later for "Charly." There are several outstanding performances in this film. Fonda and Robertson have already been mentioned. Lee Tracy was deservedly nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actor for his performance as former President Art Hockstader who controls the nomination process at the party's national convention until cancer brings him down. This picture represented somewhat of a comeback for Tracy. While filming "Viva Villa!" in Mexico a drunk Tracy urinated from a balcony onto the heads of Mexican soldiers parading below leading to an international incident. It gave a whole new meaning to raining on someone's parade. Tracy, a truly distinguished actor, himself died of cancer a few years after "The Best Man" was released. A few of the cast members noted for their comic talents give splendid dramatic readings. Shelley Berman plays a confused ex-soldier who accuses Joe Cantwell of having done a degenerate act while serving with him in the Aleutian Islands. Ann Sothern has the role of a busy body who thinks she's a king maker. Sexy Edie Adams Ernie Kovac's widow appears as Joe's wife hoping to be the future First Lady. And the great John Henry Faulk who was blacklisted in the 50's because of persons like Joe, fought and won, plays a corn pone Southern politician.Don't miss the heavenly Mahalia Jackson, perhaps the best gospel singer of the 20th century, belting out an old spiritual at the opening of the convention. Her time on the screen is much too brief. Howard K. Smith doesn't have an acting problem since he plays himself but his appearance makes the convention seem more realistic. The entire cast makes a good showing. However, Kevin McCarthy is virtually wasted in the thankless role of Russell's campaign manager.Gore Vidal writes with much wit and wisdom. There are subtle hints of humor from time to time that require the viewer's devout concentration. This is definitely not escapist type fare. The film analyzes American politics not just from the standpoint of 1960/64 but from the Republic's 200 plus year history. The revelations presented in "The Best Man" are just as true in the year 2006 and will be rerun to some extent during the Presidential conventions in the summer of 2008.The ex-President Art Hockstader refers to the results of the convention as putting a king in the castle, a far cry from George Washington's views that being President was a civic duty. When asked if he should be called King, Washington replied, "No, Mr. President will do." We haven't had a Washington in the President's house since.
Who is the right type of man to be President? (by theowinthrop)
Although dated because Gore Vidal placed too much emphasis on the importance of a convention, THE BEST MAN is one of those movies that should be shown the week just before a Presidential primary, convention, debate, or election is held. It is an important statement on what the public really deserves from its leaders, and also what the public frequently ends up getting.The date of the events would be roughly 1968 or possibly 1972, as Joe Cantwell Clift Robertson's character served in World War II. The World War II Presidents lasted from General Eisenhower to George H. W. Bush, but the <more>
youth of Cantwell limits his having a run after 1972. Cantwell as was pointed out in another review is based on Joe McCarthy, although the candidates seem to be Democrats, not Republicans. To be fair he is an amalgam of several figures: Huey Long with Gene Raymond as a brother Earl - although Earl is made the older brother , and Estes Kefauver, the Tennessee Democratic Senator who fought the Mafia and ended up Stevenson's rival in 1956, and then his Vice Presidential running-mate. Cantwell has made a hard-hitting reputation against communists and mobsters. But he does not care what methods he uses to achieve his goals. At one point one sees him strong-arming delegates through blackmail.As was pointed out his rival, William Russell, is based on two time candidate and loser Adlai Stevenson. Russell actually has an even earlier lineage. His name is the same as Lord William Russell, a 17th Century Whig "liberal" nobleman, and political writer, who was executed for treason in a questionable trial in 1683 in what was called "the Rye House Plot" supposedly against the life of King Charles II and his brother the Duke of York . Gore Vidal obviously chose the name to suggest a hopelessness in the man's ambitions from the start.Russell also turns out to have had a nervous breakdown of a quasi-violent nature that was covered up by the then President Art Hochstedter Lee Tracy . This is based on the tragedy in the Truman Administration of our first Secretary of Defence, the brilliant James Forresthal, who killed killed himself threw himself out of a window from a hospital he was being treated at in 1949. Russell in Vidal's fiction was Hochstedter's Secretary of State at the time of his breakdown.Cantwell has massive appeal to the group that Nixon would label "the silent majority". He is one of them, and he knows that they think the way he does. To achieve what they want they will do anything. He has a contempt for effete, liberals like Russell. Russell, who has written a book on his views of the world similar to Democrat - turned Republican - Wendell Wilkie , loathes Cantwell and his strong arm methods. Russell is married his wife is played by Margaret Leighton . She resents his womanizing, but like Eleanor Roosevelt admires the man - and will support him if he will refrain from humiliating her in the White House. Cantwell is a family man with children his wife is played by Edie Adams . He does compartmentalize home-life and political being, but Adams also understands this.Cantwell is ready to spring the report his brother acquired of the nervous breakdown of Russell. But Russell's assistant Kevin McCarthy has found evidence of a nasty rumor about Cantwell in the army. A fellow soldier stationed with Cantwell Shelley Berman is ready to expose that Cantwell had a homosexual episode while in the service.Both candidates hope to get ex-President Hochstedter's blessing for the nomination. But though he likes Russell, Hochstedter doubts Russell's fighting ability and decisiveness. Hochstedter hates Cantwell who openly despises him as well , but he knows Cantwell can fight. But he is aware that Cantwell to win his point can overkill ridiculously. He also is aware that for himself time may be running out.Other figures are on the sidelines: A southern governor who wants to put a stop to this nonsense about integration played by blacklist hero John Henry Faulk , an outspoken "Pearl Mesta" type of Washington hostess, giving social tips to the potential first ladies Ann Southern . And other favorite son candidates, including Richard Arlen.Gore Vidal's family has been involved in American politics for many decades, his grandfather being Senator Thomas Gore of Oklahoma. Distantly he is related to our former Vice Presient Al Gore. So he has made his fable of politics very rich and thought provoking. Who indeed should our political fates be in the hands of? His conclusion is as clever as his viewpoints are wise.
Men ruled by principles refuse get involved in politics!!! (by elo-equipamentos)
A man don't shall sell his soul to get power, also good men ruled by principles refuse get involved in politics, under this point stay to easy to predict the end, according Fonda's behavior over a such poisoned environment, dirty games behind on a true battle to get power, Strong approach over party nomination to running for president, further preliminary talks sewing partnerships not always trustworthy, taking the results of convention unforeseeable, in this match Fonda Against Robertson who really portrude is the former president played masterfully by Lee Tracy, what a fabulous <more>
acting! A near masterpiece that uncover the power's backstage where there's no rules or right of retraction, leading us to believe that the Fonda's final descision was right!Resume:First watch: 2005 / How many: 2 / Source: Cable TV-DVD / Rating: 9
The Great Lee Tracy Actually Gets To Curse On screen (by Handlinghandel)
What a pleasure to see Lee Tracy in his later years! He plays a President who is terminally ill-- not that Conservative, mudslinging candidate Cliff Robertson cares about his health.The movie has some weird, faux cinema verite angles. It may not be great art as a movie. But what a screenplay, courtesy of Gore Vidal! Rarely are audiences treated to such literate dialogue and politic insight and wisdom.Henry Fonda is very good as the upright candidate in a primary. Margaret Leighton, whom I love, is charming as his wife, though it's odd that a senator would have a British-accented <more>
wife.Robertson, not a particular favorite generally, is superb as his rival. His tactics make the flesh crawl.Kevin McCarthy as Fonda's aid is very good. Edie Adams as a political hostess is a scream -- and she seems just right.And Tracy. He is both funny and touching. What a splendid actor that man was! In so many early movies, he delivered long, elegant bits of dialogue in what seemed to be a single take. That guy was load with talent. What a shame he self-destructed. But here he was, back again.This is one of a kind and most definitely worth a visit.
The Best Man in a sense was dated before it ended its Broadway run of 520 performances in the 1960-1961 season. John F. Kennedy with his string of primary victories had the nomination almost decided before the Democrats met in Los Angeles that year to nominate him. After that, money raised and spent wisely in primaries decided nominations in both parties long before the conventions met. The last convention where there was a semblance of a contest was the 1976 Republican convention where it was not certain until the balloting that Gerald R. Ford would be the GOP candidate. This film takes us <more>
back to the era of the smoke filled room although candidate Cliff Robertson pointedly tells former president Lee Tracy that he does not smoke. We've got two candidates at this fictional Democratic convention circa the sixties. One is Henry Fonda former Secretary of State, an intellectual in politics modeled on Adlai E. Stevenson and Cliff Robertson a no nonsense street fighter of a U.S. Senator that Joe McCarthy was the prototype.By the way back in those days Joe McCarthy could easily have been a Democrat. Note that Robertson has the support of the lily white south in the era before the civil rights revolution. Minor candidate John Henry Faulk, a southern governor, is most concerned about mandated integration of his state's public schools. Back then the Dixie part of this country had a big influence in the Democratic party, the Republicans were almost moribund in many southern states. But they were a growing force.Neither Fonda or Robertson really understands the motivations of the other. They're both courting the support of Lee Tracy a former Truman like president. In actual fact, Truman counted for very little once he was out of the White House. He anointed no successor in 1952 and in 1956 and 1960 his candidates were W. Averill Harriman and Stuart Symington respectively and both came up very short.Fonda and Robertson both have dirt of varying degrees on the other. Fonda's dirt is supplied by former army buddy of Robertson's Shelley Berman who says that Robertson was gay. As it turns out Robertson ratted out a bunch of gay men in the service and got smeared in retaliation with the label. That sad to say has not changed even with don't ask don't tell in the Defense Department.Fonda and Robertson's roles on Broadway were played by Melvyn Douglas and Frank Lovejoy. Lee Tracy who was the only carry over from Broadway, won a Tony Award and was nominated for an Oscar, but lost to Peter Ustinov for Topkapi. Tracy's is a finely etched portrayal of a bitter old man now out of real power and seeing his power to control events slipping by. Made even more bitter by the fact that he reads the characters of Fonda and Robertson very well, but can't influence either.Gore Vidal aided in the transition of his play to the screen and it survived the journey from Broadway none the worse for wear. It's a fascinating look at a bygone era of politics when the national conventions meant something as opposed to being the media shows they are today. In which we hope then as now that The Best Man will win out.
An inside look at what goes on behind the scenes at political conventions (by blanche-2)
Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson are neck and neck for the Presidential nomination in "The Best Man," a 1964 film based on the play by Gore Vidal, who also wrote the screenplay. The film sports an outstanding cast including Margaret Leighton, Kevin McCarthy, Edie Adams, Lee Tracy, Edie Adams, Ann Sothern, Shelley Berman, Gene Raymond and Howard K. Smith.Fonda is William Russell, a wealthy man of principle, though he cheats on his wife; Robertson is Joe Cantwell, who chases Communists, is a "man of the people," and plays dirty. At one point, each candidate has something on <more>
the other that could lose them the nomination. Nowadays, of course, these items would have come out long, long before the convention. "One word from me and Joe Cantwell is out of politics," Russell muses to his wife Leighton . But can he say the word? This is a fascinating look at the machinations of getting a President nominated, and asks the question, can a man retain his integrity and still be a politician? Vidal's answer comes as not much of a surprise.Fonda played presidents and politicians throughout his career. As Russell, he has reserve and dignity. He keeps you guessing. Robertson does a great job as a disloyal sleaze. Lee Tracy, who started in silents, is fantastic as the current, ill President, repeating the role he played on Broadway. The rest of the cast is uniformly good.So much of what is stated in "The Best Man" remains true today. I doubt these races are handled much differently now. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Especially in politics.