Classic Film Guide

Last Hurrah, The (1958)

Spencer Tracy plays Mayor Frank Skeffington, an aging incumbent trying to get reelected against the wishes of his party's political machine in the new era of television. It foreshadows (to some degree) this new medium's influence in the process for the real life Presidential contest between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, two years later. It was directed by John Ford, and features a screenplay by Frank S. Nugent (The Quiet Man (1952)) from the Edwin O'Connor novel which was loosely based on real life Boston Mayor M. Curley. Jeffrey Hunter plays a newspaper writer that's also Skeffington’s nephew, Adam Caulfield; he learns by watching the old master (old fashioned political campaigns were dirty too), and comes to admire him despite his editor's (John Carradine) hatred for the man. Pat O'Brien, James Gleason, Edward Brophy, and Carleton Young play the Mayor's colleagues. Basil Rathbone plays a banker who opposes Skeffington’s reelection, Donald Crisp plays Cardinal Martin Burke. The cast also includes Wallace Ford, Frank McHugh, Willis Bouchey, Ricardo Cortez, Frank Albertson, and of course Jane Darwell (among many others).

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