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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 (16 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 26.95
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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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Most helpful customer reviews
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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By Gerald Parker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Having watched two different cinematic accounts of All the King's Men, the common assessment that the 1949 film, with Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 13052 being the edition viewed), is a greater movie than the 2006 film starring Sean Penn in the same role (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment16953-LIT being the "Special Edition" watched) seems rather debatable. That is not because Sean Penn is better than Broderick Crawford in that role; Penn is, indeed excessively, rather clownishly over-the-top, but so, to only a little lesser degree (but more believably) Crawford is also. Penn's faked Southern accent, however, is pretty dreadful, too, and is grossly exaggerated. Newsreels of the time convey what Long really was like, in looks and in public behaviour, and it is Crawford who most approximates the Huey Long of history.

This review is meant to apply to both motion pictures as released on DVD, Blu-Ray, or VHS.

The other actors in the 2006 film may not quite sound like native-born Southerners, either; however, not going so far to fake the regional accent, they irritate less than Sean Penn does. (Having a whole side of the family from Southern roots, that kind of linguistic fakery always sets this viewer's teeth gritting and on edge!)

The cast of the film, aside from Sean Penn, is superb. Jude Law's portrayal of Jack Burden is especially poignant, and, in its quiet way, very effective and subtle.
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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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By Nix Pix
"All The King's Men" is the political melodrama that swept the Oscars and made actor, Broderick Crawford a household name. Pity that in the intervening decades he's all but been forgotten. Crawford is Willie Stark - an honest man butting heads in the political arena until he finally gets his chance to rule when he sweeps the every man's election. Too bad for Willie that the power goes to his head. John Ireland costars as the reporter who wants so desperately to believe in Willie that he's willing to overlook the slow spiral out of control. Mercedes McCambridge is a publicist with only greed in her heart and poison on her mind. John Derek is cast as Willie's son - the tragic victim of his father's scaling to great heights.
TRANSFER: Somewhat of a disappointment. Though the gray scale is reasonably well balanced though at times the contrast levels seem to be a shade too low. A lot of wear and tear has gone into this film's original camera negative. Scratches and age related blemishes are glaringly obvious. Some sections of the print appear to have been lifted from third generation masters instead of the film's original camera negative. There are moments when aliasing and pixelization crop up but these don't terribly distract. The audio is MONO but nicely balanced.
BOTTOM LINE: The drama is compelling. If you can get through all the surface issues with regards to the print elements, then you are in for a very stirring film.
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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 20 months ago by MFJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful as Ever!
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. Read more
Published on March 13 2011 by Robert Badgley
5.0 out of 5 stars Broderick Crawford is mesmerizing
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. Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2010 by falcon
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
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment.
What can I say -- I found this film to be so incredibly trite, so simple were its morals and weak its characterization. Read more
Published on June 1 2004 by C.J. Hustwick
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
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