The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (20)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (20)
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''The Great McGinty'' was the great Preston Sturges's first showing as a director, and a happy occasion it was.
Sturges displays plenty of ability in accentuating both the comedy and dramatic elements of his material, withal maintaining a consistent pace in the unreeling.
A wonderfully dry satire.
You won't make a mistake, believe us, if you stuff the ballot-box for The Great McGinty.
Preston Sturges's first film as writer-director (1940) and one of his most cynical comedies -- a cut below his best work, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't see it.
The perfect fusion of Sturges's wit and frenzy.
The evolution from hoodlum to governor: 'You got to crawl before you can creep, right?'
The trademark Sturges dialogue is in rare form here, each character armed with a quiver full of tart jabs and put-downs.
It's the kind of ironical film Capra wouldn't or couldn't make.
Deliciously biting political satire.
As a political comedy, it's far-fetched but certainly engaging.
Sturges' directorial debut is a little rough around the edges, but still good.
The Great McGinty was Preston Sturges' directorial debut; he famously sold the script - which went on to win him an Oscar - to Paramount for $10, on the condition that he could direct the movie himself. In a seedy bar in a banana republic, Dan McGinty (Brian Donlevy) recalls his meteoric rise (and spectacular fall) from bum to racketeer, to crooked mayor, to honest state governor and back to bum again. By staging his story as a post-catastrophic flashback from skid row, Sturges neatly undermines the sentimentality and predictability of McGinty's romance with Catherine (Muriel Angelus), the secretary he marries out of convenience, but the lack of a Happy Ending makes the picture oddly unsatisfying. This problem is emphasised by the economical running time; clocking in at a little over 80 minutes, McGinty's end credits begin to roll at about the time we would typically anticipate that final twist enabling the leads to live happily ever after.
An historic movie as it's probably the first one done by a writer/director, Preston Sturges. The Great McGinty stars off with enough of the trademarked Sturges dialogue and humor (namely with McGinty's suit) as it tells the tale of a dishonest hobo turned mayor turned governor who eventually ends up down the drain for going honest. It takes itself a little too seriously at times but when it's funny it's really on. It also acts as a sneak preview to what would be coming down the pipeline from Sturges. You can see his style emerging and beginning to take the shape of something great.
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