6.7/10
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The Great Man Votes (1939)

Passed | | Drama | 13 January 1939 (USA)
In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what ... See full summary »

Director:

Garson Kanin

Writers:

Gordon Malherbe Hillman (story), John Twist (screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Barrymore ... Gregory Vance
Peter Holden Peter Holden ... Donald
Virginia Weidler ... Joan
Katharine Alexander ... Miss Billow
Donald MacBride ... Iron Hat McCarthy
Benny Bartlett ... Davy McCarthy (as Bennie Bartlett)
Brandon Tynan ... Chester Ainslee
Elisabeth Risdon ... Phoebe Ainslee
Granville Bates ... The Mayor
Luis Alberni ... Manos
J.M. Kerrigan ... Hot Shot Gillings
William Demarest ... Charles Dale
Roy Gordon Roy Gordon ... Mr. Byrne
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Storyline

In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what he is and what he isn't, are his only admirers. Then, it is discovered that he is the only registered voter in a key precinct and the politicians, from both parties, arrive in droves bearing inducements. What he does about this situation, and the relatives who want to take his children away from him make up the story. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

WHAT MAKES A GREAT PICTURE?...In this case it's a man with a hole in his pants and an empty heart...and two loyal kids who just knew their dad was a great man...and that wonderful, intangible something that makes blood pound faster, brings a lump in the throat, a laugh of gladness, and a precious tear to the eye! Come expecting one of the best pictures you've ever seen! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

13 January 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il voto del grand'uomo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$265,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Garson Kanin wrote that he insisted that everyone working on the film call John Barrymore "Mr. Barrymore" in a attempt to perk up the actor's sagging self-image, including people who had known Barrymore for years. Several members of the crew quit the film instead of following Kanin's edict. See more »

Goofs

When Davy pushes the new kid in the school yard, shadows of the camera and the boom microphone can clearly be seen on the ground behind them. The shadow of the camera then moves as it follows Davy afterwords. See more »

Quotes

Gregory Vance: Gregory Vance, magnified briefly, by a kindly destiny, in a kindly land where... where greatness is within a people, not within a man; and where any man who calls himself great, is only looking at his shadow, from the shoulders of those who have lifted him up. Today, his own feet must carry him. Side by side we walk today, the big and the little, and, those we sometimes call: the down and out. A voter, by the name of Mr. Whittier, once spoke of that. Today, of all the weary year, a king of men ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are presented on four-sided campaign-like signs mounted on poles and carried around as if in a parade. See more »

Soundtracks

(Hail, Hail,) The Gang's All Here
(1904) (uncredited)
Music by Theodore Morse and Arthur Sullivan (uncredited)
Lyrics by Dolly Morse
Played during the opening credits
Reprised by the marching band at the parade
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A short but delightful comedy which is surprisingly well crafted.
4 February 2000 | by bobc-5See all my reviews

For a movie which is little more than a light diversion, this turns out to be constructed with a surprisingly high level of craftsmanship and sensitivity. I would find it difficult to believe that anyone could dislike this short but delightful comedy.

On the surface, the movie is about a group of local politicians whose spin doctors have managed to use the media to manipulate the public to the point that the vote of one "great" man will determine the entire outcome of the elections. Ignore the specifics and this political satire is as relevant today as it was when it was made 60 years ago. But the real story is about a father's love for his children and this is what truly makes him "the great man". It isn't presented with much depth - what can you expect from a short simple comedy? - but it is done with enough sensitivity to create a real feeling of warmth and affection.

All of it's characters could easily have lost their humanity by falling into predictable stereotypes, but the movie manages to completely avoid this. The main character is continually drunk, but he never has to resort to slurring or stumbling to portray this, and his drunkenness is never exploited for a cheap laugh. His two precocious children manage to entertain without ever having to be excessively cute. It's rare to see a low budget comedy which has the confidence to show this kind of restraint. The confidence is well deserved; this is a movie which is sure to put a smile on your face.


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