Director(s): John Ford
IMDB Rating: 7.4
An aging politician tries to get re-elected one last time in the changing world of the 1950s when TV started to play a bigger part in politics. Based loosely on the career of multi-term Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, this film examines the good and evil inherent in politics and all the things that go into an election. Tracys uphill battle to stay in office is set against the political machinery that preyed on ethnic hatred and old-time money.
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Robert J. Maxwell (01 May 2013)
They must have had a very good time in the old town when they shot thismovie in the late 1950s. Ford's best movies were behind him, but he'sgathered a cast of old character actors, enough to have a genuineparty, with Ford sobbing in his beer about how the old days are goneforever. O.Z. Whitehead, Edwin Brophy, Basil Rathbone, Donald Crisp,Jane Darwell, Jeff Hunter, Carlton Smith? Some of the names escape me. Ford's Irishness goes over the top in his puncturing of the WASPS whowere his opponents in old Boston. (I suppose Spencer Tracy is supposedto be Mayor James Curley -- as in the campaign jingle, "Vote early andoften for Curley.") The movie drips with sentiment and a sense of lossfor a more innocent time -- before TV ads. One of the best lines in themovie is when Basil Ruysdael as the Protestant Bishop brings Tracy upshort by asking him frankly, "Aren't you being a little TOO Irish?" The novel was a bit better, as most novels are compared to theirtransformative expression in film, if only because there is time andspace enough for the characters and the story can be more fullydeveloped. The focus of course is on the mayor, a lovable rogue. Thelast line in the novel is from an admirer, "He was a grand manaltogether."For what it's worth, the political agenda is built around the substoryof two political enemies, Tracy and Rathbone (the latter made into aformer member of the KKK in case we didn't get the point otherwise) andtheir sons, each of them failures. Tracy's son is a ne'er-do-well whoseonly interest is new cars and women and who assures Tracy, "Ah, you'llwin, Pop. You always do." Rathbone's son (Whitehead) is a rich dullbulb who is easily manipulated into making a fool of himself so thatTracy can blackmail Rathbone. Whitehead is given a lisp to make him assilly as possible. "Do you do much sailing?" "Oh, yeth. Printhicipallyon my thloop."In the early scene in Skeffington's office we see a row of old photosof bearded men hanging on the wall behind his desk. Prominent amongthem is probably the best known portrait ever published of SigmundFreud, taken about 1912. Maybe the prop master recognized itsubconsciously for what it was and sensed that it was a photo of aprominent-enough figure to be worth displaying in the Mayor's office.This is known as a Freudian slip.
cstotlar (30 April 2013)
I'd been looking forward to this for a long time. I'm a fan of JohnFord and he's given me some of my favorite films.I'll have to confess that "The Last Hurrah" disappointed me in manyways. The acting, particularly Spenser Tracy's was wonderfulthroughout. Ford's stable of stalwarts made the film glisten with theirbit roles and backup. It was Tracy's film, though, and he's a virtuosowhichever way you view it.It's very much a black and white film - and I'm not referring to thecolor. There are the could guys and then the bad guys, with absolutelyno subtlety at all. The good guys were the Irish who made it up theladder through honest (?) hard work while the bad guys had Englishaccents and inherited their wealth. Just think Basil Rathbone or JohnCarradine and you get the picture. The rival candidate to Tracy is an undisguised idiot with a hilariousbut ridiculous "interview" on television including a barking dog and awife who can't read. These are very, very broad lines.I can't help thinking about Frank Capra's descriptions of the otherside, the "baddies" in such films as "Mr. Deeds" or "It's a WonderfulLife" There is absolutely no subtlety whatsoever. These people wereeducated and reared in wealthy families and should be punished. This isa very rural and dangerous flaw in the American personality that foundits way in this film. But this time, they have English ACCENTS. JohnFord has never been at ease with the English people in general.Sometimes, it borders on intense dislike or even hatred, and it'severywhere to be seen in this film. The protracted death-bed scene was so over-done and over-long it wasembarrassing to watch. Just a-tuggin' at the old heartstrings. Cardiacarrest might be a more appropriate term. Ford didn't know when to stop.It's as plain and simple as that.Curtis Stotlar
valbrazon (28 April 2013)
I have been to the Etrange Festival in Paris and the directorJean-Pierre Mocky talked about this movie, he told as it's the rarestfilm of John Ford in France but it's his best for him. I didn't knowJohn Ford and i never heard of this film before this festival. He gaveme the envy to watch it so i did.I read a bit about John Ford and i understood as i mostly made westernmovies than political ones. I really wanted to watch it. The movieitself is interesting, we follow the life of a old man who wants to bea mayor another time in a town of United States of America. Manypeoples don't know about how someone is elected as Mayor and we can seeexactly all the stages.I highly recommend you this film if you like John Ford.
(27 April 2013)
"The Last Hurrah" is a must see for Political Professionals If you areengaged in practical politics then the "The Last Hurrah" is a must foryou. If you enjoy watching people or enjoy the company of people thenyou will enjoy the new characters that you will meet in the "LastHurrah" The film introduces us to the character of "Ditto". If you havebeen in politics for long, you have met several Dittos and several ofthe other lively characters that are still fresh today. The competionbetween Police and Fire, the Funeral water, the Comodore /FireComisioneer, the GadFly Cadidate, and so many characters will lookfamiliar for students of our system of government.The only reason I do not want to recommend this film is that there aretoo many wicked techniques (sic: old tricks of the trade) shown to theyoung for just the price of watching a movie in the comfort of theirhome.All the Best John W. Stump City Heights Ward of San Diego, California
(26 April 2013)
This review is from: The Last Hurrah (DVD) John Ford's,"The Last Hurrah",based on a novel by Edwin O'Connor,tells of the last campaign of Frank Skeffington(based on Mayor Michael Curley of Boston)for Mayor of an unnamed New England City.But it is SO MUCH MORE than that,it is the story of Irish Catholics in American,a very romaniticized view of them and big city politics,but a VERY WARM AND LOVING POTRAIT of times gone by,told by THE GREATEST STORY TELLER in U.S. film history,John Ford. Spencer Tracy(as skeffington) leads an unbeatable cast Basil Rathbone,John Carradine,Jeffery Hunter(as the Mayor's nephew),Jane Darwell,Anna Lee,Frank McHugh,Wally Ford,Pat O'Brien,and on,an on.A GREAT FILM,that NEVER fails to move me(i've seen it at least 40 times)One drawback==NO AUDIO COMMENTARY.The DVD=4 stars.The MOVIE=5 stars.
John T. Ryan (26 April 2013)
We're not really sure just what it is that quality that the Irishpeople posses that predisposes them for success at the "Science" andArt of Politics. Scarcely getting their feet wet, the Immigrant fromthe Emerald Isle when they saw their children out and about working thePrecincts for the local Democratic Ward Committeemen. Thus the verypeople who Good Queen Victoria had told the World were sub-human;short-cut their way to success. The cold realities of the "NINA" Signs*were circumvented all completely with the application of the 'OldBlarney' (Gift of Gab) and a lot of elbow grease.With their numbers in the ranks growing, it wasn't too long a timebefore that the Alderman (or City Councilman) as well as the real"Power Behind the Throne", the Party Ward Committeeman, were Irishalso. The only next logical step is to have the Candidate at the top ofthe ticket as one of their own.In our own home town of "broad shoulders, Hog Butcher to the World,Stacker of Wheat", Â ..etc., Chicago, there has been a long standingtradition of a Political Organization or, to put it more bluntly, "TheMachine." So, that we have seen a number of different Boss Men incharge in the 20th Century.And this isn't to insinuate that all of the Head Guys were Irish;though the leading exponent of Machine Politics was the Late Richard J.Daley, Mayor of Chicago (1955-1976) and Father of our current Mayor,Richard M. Daley. Over the years we've had City Bosses of variouspedigrees and even a Republican, Big Bill Thompson, who ran on a plankof keeping the Saloons open and even promised to punch King George V ofGreat Britain in the nose. West side Political Powerhouse, Anton J.Cermak, a Czech immigrant, took the reins of the organization during a2 year short-circuited Mayoral Administration (1931-33). He was struckdown by the bullet of assassin Giuseppe Zangara in Miami, Florida,February 15, 1933. This was during an appearance with President-electFranklin D. Roosevelt. The assumption was that the bullet was meant forRoosevelt, but nobody knows for sure.Others to "ascend the Throne of the Organization/Machine were Edward J.Kelly (1933-47), Martin H. Kennelly (1947-51), Michael A. Bilandic(1976-79), Jane M. Byrne (1979-83), Harold L. Washington (1983-87),Eugene Sawyer (1987-89) and Richard M. Daley (1989-Present). Please forgive my relating all of this similarity to Chicago. Enough ofthis, already, so Â Â Â Â Â Â OUR STORY Long time Mayor Frank Skeffington (Spencer Tracy) of anun-named Bostonian-type Big City is facing an election after being inoffice of one form or another most of his life. Being an old pro, andfacing challenge from College Boy-upstart, Kevin McCluskey (Charles B.Fitzsimmons), there is nothing that seems extraordinary about thiselection. So we are to follow Mr. Skeffington all day long during thelast stretch of the election.We see it all through the eyes of Adam Caulfield (Jeffrey Hunter) anewspaper man who is assigned to cover the Campaign of his somewhatestranged Uncle. In addition to the Public Man, we get to see the dayto day functions of the Skeffington no one ever sees.In addition to regular duties as the City's Chief Executive, All of usare present when he decides on who a new statue in city park shall bemade. The Mayor brings in a host of "mourners" for a socially solitaryconstituent and gets the widow a rock bottom price by using a littleCity Hall Arm Twisting on Mortician Johnny Degnan; gently reminding himthat his business licensing is up for renewal soon. He also garnerssupport he needs from the City's Bluebloods by "appointing" Amos Force,Jr. (O.Z. Whitehead) the nitwit sissified son of Amos Force (JohnCarradine) to be the new "Fire Chief", complete with Black Mail Photos.The campaign progresses and the public turns Frank out of office. Inmaking concession speech he announces his new campaign for Governor,which would go unrequited as he is stricken with a highly debilitatingstroke. Confined to his bed, all of his political allies and some ofthe old rivals come by to pay their respects. Frank dies.Director John Ford took an excellent adaptation of the novel andtransformed it into great film. Use of the archival-like effect of theBlack & White was well executed and effective. Ford & writers EdwinO'Connell (novel) & Frank S. Nugent (screenplay) use ironic twist ofhaving Frank Skeffington, Jr. (Arthur Walsh) characterized as auseless, goodtime, Prodigal Son type; having no interest in hisFather's Mayoralty or his declining physical condition.One thing for sure though is that Mr. John Ford put together a supertalented cast; some of the regulars, others working with him for thefirst time. These include: Pat O'Brien, Basil Rathbone, Diane Foster,Donald Crisp, Frank McHugh, James Flavin, James Gleason, Ed Brophy,Basil Ruysdael, Willis Bouchey, Ricardo Cortez, Wallace Ford, CarletonYoung, Frank Albertson, Edmund Lowe, William Leslie, Anna Lee, and KenCurtis. Jane Darwell, Ruth Warren, Helen Westscott, Mimi Doyle, DannyBorzage, William Forrest, Frank Sully, Charles Sullivan and others toonumerous to name here.NOTE: * The "NINA" stands for "No Irish Need Apply"signs, which werecommonplace in our big cities in the mid to late 19th Century.
bkoganbing (24 April 2013)
John Ford certainly does capture the spirit of how James Michael Curleywould like to have been remembered. It's how he wrote his memoirs andhow Edwin O'Connor wrote that brilliant piece of fiction.Curley was a demagogue par excellence. He played ethnic politics to thehilt. He served one term as governor of Massachusetts and that term wasnoted for an outrageous scandal in which pardons were sold to prisonerswho could cough up the money. And he was always the victim of thosenasty Yankee patriarchs. Spencer Tracy does a great job in cleaning up the Curley image and therest of the cast is fine. I would like to call attention to two actorswho typified the cultural divide that James Michael Curley neverattempted to bridge in his lifetime, unlike in this film. Willis Bouchey playing Roger Sugrue, disparagingly referred to as thePapal Knight, is this rabidly bigoted Roman Catholic who is foreverfinding fault with the rest of humanity and criticizing those of hisfellow Catholics who are not as good as he. He nearly has a strokeafter seeing a Monsignor played by Ken Curtis on TV playing golf with arabbi. No wonder Donald Crisp playing the Cardinal refers to him as"that horrible man, Roger Sugrue."And the other side of the coin is John Carradine playing Amos Force thedescendant of old line Puritans who is as bigoted in his way as RogerSugrue is in his. It's alluded to that back in the 1920s Carradine wasin the Ku Klux Klan and you can believe it from Carradine's portrayal.Bouchey and Carradine are the two best in a cast that is saturated withJohn Ford favorites. As a lesson in respect for diversity, The LastHurrah has a lot to say. History it's not though.
mgrindberg (24 April 2013)
A homespun and sentimental take on politics, with Spencer Tracy playingFrank Skeffington, an old style Irish Catholic big city mayor caught ina cooked up scandal by his blue blood Prostestant Republican enemies.Crowded scenes add to the pace as the characters whip through the sharpFrank Nugent screenplay like a hot knife going through butter. Directedby John Ford, the film previews the changes that have since taken placein American politics i.e. television imagery and big money, and here wesee them presented in a political campaign pitting Skeffington againsta younger, telegenic, politically inept opponent financed by the city'sconservatives. With John Carradine giving a memorable performance asultra-conservative newspaper publisher and ex-Klansman Amos Force, andpersonal favorite Ken Curtis playing a monsignor, the film blends thetypical Ford elements: fairness and tolerance against hypocrisy andgreed.
Stephen Alfieri (23 April 2013)
"The Last Hurrah" tells the story of old-time, machine driven, localpolitics. Both the good and the bad sides.On the good, you had a cluster of politicos who worked hard for theircitizenry. Efficient, powerful and determined, they could get the jobdone, with a pat on the back or the wink of an eye.On the bad you had a cluster of politicos who expected a quid pro quofor favors they delivered. They expected those they helped to help themat the polls. They also usually helped members of their own group morethan other people, as well.In "The Last Hurrah", this type of old-time politics is coming to anend. Television campaigns are being introduced, and at least one of thecandidates is learning that you can reach more people in a two minutead, than you can by standing on local street corners giving speeches.It is the dawn of a new political era.Spencer Tracy plays Mayor Skeffington, an old political pro, who isabout to run his last campaign. He believes in the old ways. Pressingthe flesh, meeting his constituency face to face. He is more apt toapply the pressure of his office in order to get what he wants, than heis to seek a consensus on matters. Tracy is perfect in this role. Inmany ways it is Tracy's last hurrah. He would appear in only a handfulof films after this one. Since the film was made in 1958, you couldalso say that his style of acting is giving way to a new breed as well.Jeffrey Hunter is effective as Tracy's nephew. A political neophyte,who learns to admire Skeffington the man, and mayor.Tracy is surrounded by one of the best supporting casts to be seen onfilm. His "backroom" boys are Pat O'Brien, James Gleason, and EdwardBrophy. Watching them, you get the sense of the type of "cigar filledrooms" they worked in to get deals done.Basil Rathbone, Donald Crisp, John Carradine are all perfect in theirroles as well. Wallace Ford and Frank McHugh add "local flavor" totheir roles as traditional opponents to Skeffington.But it is Tracy who carries this film, and he does so handsomely. I amone who believes that many of his best performances were his last ones.I think because he seemed more natural and there seems to be lesseffort and fewer mannerisms in these performances. "The Last Hurrah"demonstrates this.Tracy at the top of his game with many of his, and Ford's, old cronies,making another classic.
planktonrules (22 April 2013)
John Ford's version of the book, THE LAST HURRAH, is a behind thescenes look at one last election campaign for an aging mayor(Skeffington) of a town whose name is never mentioned in the film. Inmany ways, the film is a bit cynical as it showed the way thatpoliticians wheel and deal and manipulate--but in this case, always fora good cause. While Skeffington is definitely not above using thesequestionable tactics, at the same time, he is shown as fundamentallydecent and very, very sentimental--with a true love for hisconstituents. This is a very difficult balancing act for thefilm--combining gritty realism with sentimentality, but it manages todo so.In many ways, this is highly reminiscent of the real life Ford, as hewas by many accounts a highly manipulative son of a,.....well, you knowwhat I was going to say. Yet, at the same time, sentimentality aboundsin his films like no other film maker. You can see it here in hisliberal use of old and almost forgotten supporting stars--such as EddieBrophy, Frank McHugh and Jane Darwell.Overall, the film is very interesting and manipulative (in a good way),as you find yourself pulling for Skeffington and feeling his pain aswell--even though he is a fictional character AND a politician! Thefilm is well worth seeing and the film is extremely well-acted anddirected.
perfectbond (20 April 2013)
When I watched this film, I had no idea who James Michael Curley was. Idid not know that Spencer Tracy's wholly likable Mayor FrankSkeffington was director John Ford's revisionist interpretation of the'notorious Massachussetts demagogue.' That is because his career wasdecades before my time! The always wonderful Tracy is backed by a verycompetent supporting cast including the original captain of thestarship Enterprise (Jeffrey Hunter). In the America of today, thepolitical tensions between Irish Roman Catholics and Anglo-Protestantsare no longer there. The tensions now exist between the Euro-majorityand the non-Euro minorities. Recommended for Tracy fans.
(19 April 2013)
"The Last Hurrah" should be watched (more properly, "endured") for Spencer Tracy. It's not quite as mawkish and overly sentimental as some Boston Irish films, but close. Many of the scenes are just unbearably overlong and preachy. What saves it is one of Spencer Tracy's best performances: he's a model of restraint and dignity in a role that a lesser actor would have gone down for the third time in the sea of blarney. Very fine supporting cast, too, including every Irish character in the Hollywood at the time: Pat O'Brien, James Gleason, Donald Crisp, Frank McHugh, Edward S. Brophy, plus very substantial help from Basil Rathbone and John Carridine. Jeffrey Hunter, as Tracy's nephew, smirks his glamor-boy way through this film as a reminder that no cast is perfect. John Ford was definitely slipping here, unable to resist putting in incredibly broad characters like Tracy's and Rathbone's sons, who belong on The Simpsons, not in this film. Would have deserved two more stars at half its length.
Frederick H. Kerr (15 April 2013)
"The Last Hurrah" is about the end of a political career and also the endofan erain American local government. I first saw the film when I was ready tolaunch acareer in public administration, and I didn't like the sympathy SpencerTracy gavethe role of big city boss. Over the subsequent years, I have enjoyed thefilm moreeach time. Now, I thoroughly enjoy and am amused by the way FrankSkeffingtonmanipulates the powerful to champion the underdog.The film is more drama and comedy than history. Yet, men like James MichaelCurley, Richard J. Daley, and David L. Lawrence combined ambition for powerwith adesire to achieve municipal progress as they saw it. They used theirunderstandingof human nature and the ignorance of the body politic effectively.Skeffingtonshows how. Today, their successors use other methods for similarpurpose.
abcj-2 (14 April 2013)
When I saw "political boss" described of Tracy's character in THE LASTHURRAH, I really wasn't sure where director John Ford was going withthis. The two words together had me literally leaving it as my own"last hurrah" of the numerous films I've recorded and watched duringSpencer Tracy's turn as October 2012's TCM Star of the Month. My queueis quite full, but proportionately I've seen few duds this last month,so I gave it a shot vs. deleting it. I'm so glad I went with my faithin Tracy's choice as an actor! He rarely went wrong. My awe of him hasincreased tenfold in the last 5 weeks. He was a rare great, and thisrare film didn't disappoint.Also, this underrated gem is one of those movies that benefits greatlyfrom the still intact Hays Code in the late 1950's. That opinion is dueto the subtle mysteries and implied allegations mixed in with the tenserelationships and amusing political tactics that keep us intrigued andentertained throughout. Too much information from either side wouldleave us with a completely different film as often happens in modernday films. I loved the winding way the story unfolded and left meguessing as to how it could possibly play out.As it turns out, Ford, in his unique Ford way, knew exactly what he wasdoing. He made a film about intriguing characters...plain and simple.This is no soap opera and there were no big Indian battles set in thisquaint 1950's New England Town. However, this film had all of theentertaining qualities of Ford's character driven westerns with all ofthe complexities that arise off the battlefield, too. It literally wasone "last hurrah" as some of the fine supporting cast retired or diedwithin a few years. What a great way to go out on a fine film led bySpencer Tracy and directed by John Ford! I'm glad these two greats matched up, along with the stellar characteractor cast, to make what was one of Tracy's greatest films of his lastdecade and of his career. Many think those films were made with StanleyKramer, but I actually prefer this one to those last major statementfilms which Tracy made with Stanley Kramer. There's nothing likeinfusing interesting characters with high drama and light comedy. Notto diminish the importance of the Kramer films. It's just what I preferas a viewer. Make time to see this film if you have a fondness for any of the castand crew or want to see a great political drama. It will be 2 hoursyou'll be glad you invested.
(13 April 2013)
A strangely sluggish drama, starring Spencer Tracy as Frank Skeffington, an aging, old-school, ward-heeling Irish-American politico waging his final campaign against the nascent forces of the modern mass media -- namely, a callow young candidate backed by big money and a phalanx of television producers. What's most odd about this film is that John Ford directed it, and yet it's so dull and disjointed. And what, exactly, are they trying to say here? Is Tracy's character a scoundrel or a noble throwback to a simpler, more human time? Is he a little bit of both? And if so, what does that ambiguity mean? It's never quite clear what we're supposed to feel about Skeffington; clearly his enemies are horrible, shallow people, but the film is so fuzzy about how we're supposed to feel in constrast about Tracy's character -- who was roughly modeled on one of Boston's old mayor's -- that it's difficult to feel moved, or involved, one way or the other. Muddled and disappointing.
Martin Teller (13 April 2013)
Spencer Tracy stars as a beloved mayor making his last run forre-election. Tracy is fun to watch as always, there are a few niceshots and some crisp dialogue. The situations are fairly compelling.But once again, Ford's love of myth-making gets in the way, as theprotagonist is built up as The Swellest Guy in the World while hisopponents are all either snakes or boobs. The mayor is a working classhero who can do absolutely no wrong, always does the right thing forthe right reasons, and the bad guys are crooked, selfish, out of touchbluebloods. And of course, there's the wacky oafish sidekick. This filmis the answer to everyone who thinks MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON lacksnuance. I suppose some people are comforted by such a black and whiteview of the world, it just makes me roll my eyes.
(07 April 2013)
This review is from: The Last Hurrah (DVD) Spencer Tracy must have had a thought about is time coming too a end, when he made this movie! It was his farwell movie for us all; a movie that touches us all, when a beautiful actor as himself passes away! "A must for Spencer Tracy fans!"
(06 April 2013)
This review is from: The Last Hurrah (DVD) "The Last Hurrah" is a classic comedy/drama starring Spencer Tracy who portrays aging, Irish-American professional politician, Mayor Frank Skeffington, as he runs what is likely to be his final campaign.The story takes place in the late 1950's when the idea of utilizing television to promote a political candidate was still a novelty.Skeffington's personal campaign style (late-night neighborhood parades, impromptu speeches on street corners, visits to funeral wakes held in private homes, one-on-one audiences with potential voters, etc.) will resurrect fond memories of a by-gone era in older viewers like myself and introduce younger viewers to an age when radio was still the most popular home entertainment appliance and personal computers did not exist.Tracy's portrayal of Mayor Skeffington is a pure delight. Even when he is blatently violating the law to achieve his goal, he does it in such a charming manner that the viewer cannot help but smile and cheer him on.This dramatic comedy was first released in 1958, but is as relevent today as it was then. It is my bet that viewers, young and old alike, will find this movie to be funny, entertaining, and thought-provoking.
(01 April 2013)
I am surprised how many Ford fans dismiss this film and don't see its worth or its beauty. It is one of the rare Ford films in which we actually witness the hero die. The way Ford leads up to this and the way he portrays it is only one of the reasons that demand a second look by all who think the film does not hold up to other Ford. Ford distances himself from death in How Green was My Valley by making it part of a flashback. Tom Doniphon's death in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance takes place between the present story and the flashback. People praise Ford for his ambiguity. The Last Hurrah is more complex than detractors give it credit for and has a remarkable amount of depth. Ditto is probably the most lovingly portrayed sycophant in any film I can think of. Tracy's continually fixing Ditto's hat (which is the exact same type as Tracy-Skeffinton's) or commenting on the hat is one of the most touching portrayals of frienship in all of Ford, more like moments from Hawks. The fact that the film title says Directed and Produced by John Ford might also be Ford's tribute to his old friend, Howard Hawks.
(01 April 2013)
"The Last Hurrah" follows the exploits of mayor, Frank Skeffington (Spencer Tracy). He?s running for a third term but meets with great opposition from the city council, who don't appreciate his strong-arm tactics and chronic meddling in their affairs. The pack of detractors is led by Norman Cass Sr. (Basil Rathbone), whose youthful incumbent for the post of mayor, Kevin McCluskey (Charles B. Fitzsimmons) seems an impossible long shot. But Skeffington is not above dishing a little dirt of his own on the side. He uses incriminating photos of Cass?s simpleton son, Norman Jr. (O.Z. Whitehead) to blackmail Cass Sr. into relative submission. Skeffington also gingerly berates the elements of city council opposing him, including news paper editor, Amos Force (John Carradine) to whom Skeffington?s nephew, Adam Caufield (Jeffrey Hunter) is an employee and sometimes unwilling observer. As Skeffington, Tracy is pure dynamite, delving out equal portions of brutality and kindness in a tour de force performance that quite easily might be his best! There are plenty of finely wrought cameos to go around, including Jane Darwell?s crotchety spinster, Anna Lee?s subtle and tender performance as the widow and Donald Crisp?s stoic turn as His Eminence, Cardinal Burke. This is one heck of a good show!Instituted into the pipeline before Columbia's penny-pinching regime kicked in, "The Last Hurrah" has had admirable work done on its transfer before being minted to DVD. The gray scale is excellent and the anamorphic widescreen version of the movie is very nicely rendered with fine detail, solid blacks and contrast levels. There is a definite grain structure to this film but it will not distract from the performances. There are no compression related artifacts. The audio is MONO and nicely rendered.There are, unfortunately, NO EXTRAS!
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