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All the King's Men

Broderick Crawford , John Ireland , Robert Rossen    DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Writer-director Robert Rossen and character actors Broderick Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge (in her film debut) took home Oscars (for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress, respectively) for this excellent adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Crawford stars as Willie Stark, a charismatic populist Southern politician (inspired by the real Louisiana Governor Huey Long) who belies his "man of the people" roots as he ruthlessly maneuvers, lies, and deals his way into the halls of power. John Ireland is his right-hand man, Jack Burden, a newsman turned political flack who hangs on to Stark's early idealism even in the face of Stark's most reprehensible acts of corruption. McCambridge is Stark's cool mistress come calculating assistant. The immediacy of the drama is due in part to a documentary-like style, notably in the scenes on the campaign trail where Stark sways crowds with his folksy rhetoric and estimable charm. Joanne Dru and John Derek also costar. Rossen's savage screenplay and firm direction give the film a powerful punch, but it's Crawford's blustery charm and oversized performance that carry the picture. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Broderick Crawford is mesmerizing Oct. 5 2010
By falcon
i was mesmerized by this film from the beginning.i thought the story was great,i as was the writing.the dialogue was also well written.especially the first fiery speech given by Broderick Crawford's character,Willie Stark.i can find no fault with the acting,especially Crawford.i thought he was brilliant.i couldn't take my eyes off him.talk about a powerhouse performance.the movie really packs a powerful wallop to the stomach.the story of political corruption and greed is just as topical(if not more so)today and could easily be based on one of many of our present day politicians.would the film be as good without the brilliant performance of Broderick Crawford.we'll never know.and that's just fine.for me,All the King's Men is a (1949) is a 5/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
select group of actors who peak early in their career. In his case it is 1949, he won an Oscar, & never again got close. Eventually Crawford moved to the small screen where we,of a certain age, remember him on "Highway Patrol". But his best was better than most. His character, in All the King's Men, is Willie Stark, an idealistic, honest, populist politician bucking the system. He is also ambitious & seeing his opportunity, seizes it. His greed, lust for power & ego run amok & turn him into the very thing he had fought against only worse. He corrodes everything & everybody he touches & comes to a fitting end a 'la Huey Long, the man on which the film & presumably the book were loosely based. Highly recommended for all who like this style of political noir or junkies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful as Ever! March 13 2011
By Robert Badgley TOP 100 REVIEWER
All the Kings Men(Released Nov/49)was Broderick Crawford's shining moment as he took the best actor award away that year for his role as Willie Stark.His co-star Mercedes McCambridge as Sadie also snatched the best supporting actress node.Out of the remaining five nominations it took another OSCAR and that was for overall best motion picture.It is still easy to see why as the film still packs a powerful punch.The story is loosely based on Louisiana Governor Huey Long's rise to power and it is a look at how absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The story begins,as does the main characters',in humble backgrounds.A rural boy comes to the city(Willie Stark)in order to fight those that would subvert the political system for their own crooked gains.Naive about the "game" he is playing he is cajoled and bullied by his opponents.His seemingly honest attempts to do something for the people and their plight gets the attention of the state capitols newspaper which sends a man to check it out,one Jack Burden(John Ireland).Stark loses round one but the more he gets his hands dirty in the political arena the tougher he gets.He goes on a bender after hearing that the very people who have been financing and steering his campaign are just using him to split votes in order for their real choice to get in.At a rally the next day a hungover but new born Stark throws away his wooden speeches and comes out swinging.From this moment on all bets are off and Stark,although losing the election,doesn't let the grass grow under his feet.He goes to college and gets a BA in law and opens up his own practice as a lawyer.When the re-elections come around again he is more than ready to start the fight all over again;this time with a new fire.
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2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment. June 1 2004
What can I say -- I found this film to be so incredibly trite, so simple were its morals and weak its characterization. John Ireland is a lump at the center of the film, Mercedes McCambridge's character arc is severely underdeveloped. As for Willy, we never see his true motivations for an instant, and this is most maddening. I have read a small portion of Warren's book, and it so so vastly superior to the piece of Hollywood pap it's ridiculous. It's hard to imagine a book that is considered the greatest political novel in American history is represented by this connect-the-dots fare.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The classic still packs a punch Jan. 15 2004
I'm not much for political movies and thrillers, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this old classic still packs a considerable punch. Based on the life of Huey Long, it chronicles the rise to power of an obscure but ambitious backwoods Louisiana lawyer, Willie Stark, who initially seems to stand for honesty and reform in contrast to the entrenched and corrupt political machine he is fighting, which is determined to defeat him at all costs, rightly perceiving an honest man as a threat to everything they stand for.
Stark triumphs, however, and we watch as he himself takes on the trappings of official power, which he takes to like a duck to water. Stark builds new schools and colleges, hospitals for the poor, improves the roads, and seems to be everything the common man could hope for in a champion and leader. But there is a darker side to Stark, as he himself ultimately becomes assimilated by the corrupt machine he sought to topple and reform, and evidence surfaces that he has not only tolerated and even fostered corruption himself but was possibly involved in the murder of an innocent man who dared to challenge his authority. In the end, we see Stark using the same means and ends to further his power and to hold it at all costs that his enemies used against him at the very beginning of his career.
The movie raises the question as to whether Stark was really any different from the corrupt cronies he replaced, and the schools and hospitals he built just monuments to his ego and arrogance, or whether he was a good man who ultimately went bad in his quest and thirst for power.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sur toute la ligne !
Le produit m'a été livré dans le délai prévu. La qualité mentionnée était exacte. Read more
Published 17 months ago by MFJ
3.0 out of 5 stars Ordinary
The book is infinitely better. Robert Penn Warren wrote a deep and subtle story about the American dream, morals and desires of early 20th century America. Read more
Published on June 27 2004 by J
3.0 out of 5 stars WIN WITH WILLIE - POLITICS AND CORRUPTION; What A Novel Mix!
"All The King's Men" is the political melodrama that swept the Oscars and made actor, Broderick Crawford a household name. Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2003 by Nix Pix
2.0 out of 5 stars Distressingly unfaithful adaptation of a classic novel
Attention high school English students everywhere! Do NOT use this video to cram the night before the big test and expect to pass. Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars In Spite of Flaws, This Political Noir Is Still Powerful
There are certain subjects that films in general and Hollywood in particular never handled very well--and chief among them are politics. Read more
Published on June 8 2002 by Gary F. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars The film is good, but a weak substitute for the book!
Starring Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark, the charismatic politician whose story is based on the life of Huey Long, this film was nominated for seven academy awards in 1949. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2002 by Linda Linguvic
5.0 out of 5 stars Lord Acton is Right Again
All the King's Men is a wonderful movie about the corrupting effect of politics. It is a little abrupt in its transitions and glosses over the honest man becoming a demogogue to a... Read more
Published on June 15 2001 by Ricky Hunter
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Written and Expertly Acted Film About Politics!
This film is a fascinating study of the political process. It depicts the rise and fall of a Huey Long-like character, from his idealized beginning to his slow descent into... Read more
Published on June 20 2000 by Bertin Ramirez
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