Part of Weekend Classics: Politics in B&W.
Primary politics run amok when liberal do-gooder William Russell (Henry Fonda) squares up against the slick but ruthless Joe Cantwell (Cliff Robertson) for the party’s nomination. With President Art Hockstader (Lee Tracy) withholding his endorsement and the candidates uncovering deep damaging dirt on each other, it’s anyone’s game to win and everyone’s chance to lose. Screenplay by Gore Vidal, adapted from his hit Broadway play, and sharp cinematography by the late Haskell Wexler. Also features a rare on-screen appearance by gospel great Mahalia Jackson.
“The film has a lot of verve. It has the look of crackling intelligence…It seems like a hot, inside view even though Vidal sets the issues in terms of a slick, simplistic ends-and-means morality play.” —Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies