Saturday, December 29, 2012

"The Great McGinty" helps fuel my Sturges love affair

I'm quickly falling in love... with the films of PRESTON STURGES.
Halfway through watching "SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS" accompanied by the audio commentary (which included insights by current director and film-critic progeny Noah Baumbach), the UPS man arrived at my door with yet another Christmas present -- a seven-disc collection of Sturges films.
"Sullivan's Travels" ended and I quickly began watching Sturges' directorial debut, the 1940 political satire "THE GREAT McGINTY."
I loved it.
BRIAN DONLEVY portrays the title character, a bum who becomes an enforcer for a corrupt political boss (classic screen villain AKIM TAMIROFF). Eventually, McGinty's role becomes elevated until he serves as the ultimate front man for the mob -- as the state's governor.
The film is surprisingly complex for such a relatively simple story.
That's one of the attributes of Sturges' filmography that I most admire.
"The Great McGinty" blends comedy with political intrigue, mixed with a gangster film. As with "Sullivan's Travels," "The Great McGinty" is a film that blends genres until you can't remember exactly what the film had been labeled.
I had only seen one Sturges film before this month. Now, I want to see them all.


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