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All The Kings Men

I watched my DVD of All The Kings Men yesterday. I'd purchased it the last time I went to Target to buy clothes so I could put off doing laundry (I've got to get a washing machine).

There is a new version of the film coming out soon. There were a couple of extra features about the new film on the DVD, so the DVD must have been released recently.

For those unfamiliar with ATKM, it is a 1949 film based on a novel by Robert Penn Warren. The main character of the novel and the movie, Willie Stark, is based on Louisiana governor Huey Long. I don't remember the novel well enough to know how faithful the movie version is, but it is a well-made film about how a "man of the people" can become corrupted by power. And even though it was made in 1949, it doesn't look dated at all.

Broderick Crawford was excellent as Willie Stark. He certainly deserved the Oscar and Golden Globe he won for his performance. Even though he was playing a governor of a southern state, he did not try to affect a southern accent. He didn't need to. The austere black and white cinematography and the writing was sufficient to give the viewer  a flavor of being in the south.

It was really hard not to think about Bill Clinton while I was watching this movie. Yes, I know I am a bit of a monomaniac on the subject of Herr Clinton, but I don't think of him every time I watch a movie. (I didn't think of him once when I saw Stepmom.) Willie Stark was a man of rough charm, who was really good at glad-handing and schmoozing, and was very good at getting his way. He also had more than a streak of ruthlessness that showed itself when charm did not suffice to get what he wanted. The most vivid parallel to Clinton came about 2/3 through the movie, when Stark was impeached, just like Clinton was. He ordered his PR man to "stir up the hicks" to come to his defense. He pulled out all the stops and didn't care who he hurt. Just like Clinton.

I watched a featurette on the new movie, and saw that one of the executive producers was James Carville. OK, the Clinton parallels are definitely NOT my imagination.

I don't know if I'm going to see the new movie or not. For one thing, I don't get out to movie theatres like I used to(I've got to get a new car). Jude Law plays an important character, and he is an awful actor. James Gandolfini is in the movie, and as much as I admire his work in the Sopranos, I do NOT want to watch him trying to do a Louisiana accent. He's not that good.