Thursday, June 9, 2011

All the King's Men (1949) (2nd time)

The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal. [imdb]

Nominated for 7 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Robert Rossen
Best Actor: Broderick Crawford (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actor: John Ireland
Best Supporting Actress: Mercedes McCambridge (WINNER)
Best Writing, Screenplay
Best Editing

I would've probably not have seen this again, had it not been for my desire to catch up (again) with all Best Picture winners and write about them here. It's been a very VERY slow project, but it's rewarding in its own way. For example, I discovered that All the King's Men is not as ok as I remembered it to be: it's actually messy and inconsistent in many ways.

The highlights are the 2 Oscar winning performances, especially Crawford's - he's very energetic and convincing in the role, a scene stealer and way above his acting company. Mercedes is also fine, though seeing all nominees from her category, I might say one of the ladies from Pinky would've made for a worthier winner.

The lowest points in this film come from the screenplay which has no focus on dialogue or character motivations and, of course, the acting of some of the cast members. John Ireland is actually a co-lead and he was nominated for an Oscar here, but it's gotta be one of the WORST acting nominees I had ever seen. He brings nothing to the character, nor to the film, he just floats around with no ability for emotion. Also, the actress playing Anne Stanton: awful.

My rating for the film: 6/10. The beginning is much much better than the second half; and someone should've taken the Costume Designer aside: I've never seen such poorly fitted clothes in a film.

Special Best Picture Ranking

Once every film decade, I update this list. I hope it will go a bit faster from now on. :) In bold, the Best Picture winners of the 40s. Some predictable love (Casablanca), some very low-ranked shockers (Best Years... , Hamlet). To get to them, look for the film's name on the Tag list on the right.

There we go:

1. Gone With the Wind (1939)
2. Casablanca (1943*)
3. Rebecca (1940)
4. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
5. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
6. Mrs. Miniver (1942)
7. Wings (1927-1928)
8. Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
9. It Happened One Night (1934)
10. You Can't Take It With You (1938)
11. The Lost Weekend (1945)
12. Grand Hotel (1932)
13. The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
14. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
15. All the King's Men (1949)
16. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
17. Going My Way (1944)
18. Hamlet (1948)
19. The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
20. The Broadway Melody (1929)
21. Cimarron (1931)
22. Cavalcade (1933)

Is there anyone who doesn't think Casablanca is the best of the 40s winners?!


  1. Honestly, no. Casablanca is so brilliant.

  2. Hear hear on Casablanca - not sure why you have it behind the dull Gone With the Wind on the overall chart.

    Like you I remember All the King's Men as being better than it is and would probably agree with your comments. Should I take another look just to be sure though?

  3. Gone with the Wind is only my favorite film of all times, so I hardly expect anything to top it :D

    oh, I dunno about that. maybe if you have the right motive.

  4. I prefer Rebecca and The Lost Weekend to Casablanca, but I still think it's great. And you're right Gone With the Wind is simply the best film ever made and obviously the best Best Picture winner.

  5. While I LOVED Casablanca, The Best Years of Our Lives is my all-time favorite film... I've written a lot about it, and can recall many examples of its brilliance....It's a little bit slow for some contemporary audiences, but it has a depth and emotional honesty that were rare even in the movies of the 1940's.