Monday, September 17, 2018

“All the King’s Men” is the October Film Classic in Bigfork

The October film for this season “Classic” movies at the Edge is a 1949 Film Noir classic, “All the King’s Men.” The movie won three Oscars including Best Film.  The plot is about a small time political want-to-be politician who rises from a rural county seat to become governor of a state. It’s a thinly disguised story of Louisiana politician Huey Long who rose to power with a similar anything-goes approach to politics in the 1930’s. The movie’s success is not just the story in the movie, which is compelling by itself, but the incredible editing done on the first attempts to tell the story that ended up being much to long and complicated. This October Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theatre in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday October 11th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge.

The movie ended up so long after the “normal” tinkering done by editing that it made some of the management panicky to say the least. Production team members Robert Parrish and Harry Cohn were instructed to take just the best part of each scene and cut the rest, music and all. Then they cut another 100 feet from the beginning and end regardless. What ended up is a 109 minute movie “diamond in the rough” with a “jagged urgency” that is “compelling and Oscar worthy”. You got to see it knowing the back story to appreciate what happened. Don’t know if it was ever done that way again, but it worked.

The stars in the movie were Broderick Crawford, who won the best actor Oscar and Mercedes McCambridge who won the best supporting actress Oscar. The acting talent does not stop there because John Ireland was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor. That is some special talent on in one film.  In total the film was nominated for seven Oscars.  Great acting, great directing and a film “miracle” all combined to make this one well received by audiences and film critics then and now.

I think maybe this is one of those times where we should stop trying to restate what the critics said and let those reviews speak for themselves. Then you decide whether a trip to Bigfork is worth to see what the nice accolades were all about.  As a footnote to the reviews: in 2001 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registery and to date it is the last Best Picture winner to be based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. 

Bosley Crowther who reviewed films for thr News York Times, who said, "Robert Rossen has written and directed, as well as personally produced, a rip-roaring film of the same title ... We have carefully used that descriptive as the tag for this new Columbia film because a quality of turbulence and vitality is the one that it most fully demonstrates ... In short, Mr. Rossen has assembled in this starkly unprettified film a piece of pictorial journalism that is remarkable for its brilliant parts. Critic William Brogdon, for Variety Magazine, said  “As the rural Abe Lincoln, springing up from the soil to make himself a great man by using the opinionless, follow-the-leader instinct of the more common voter, Broderick Crawford does a standout performance. Given a meaty part, his histrionic bent wraps it up for a great personal success adding much to the many worthwhile aspects of the drama’”.

Those strong opinions most likely mean there is something special on the big screen in October. Come and see a film that will make you think.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday October 1tth at 6:30PM. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon of the period. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. The Classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education Program.

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