List Film

The Best Man (4 stars)

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The Best Man

(U) 85min

A welcome – and well-timed – DVD premiere for this witty and robust 1964 drama about the Machiavellian world of American politics. Adapted from his own hit Broadway play by Gore Vidal (The Left Handed Gun, Suddenly, Last Summer) and directed by Franklin J Schaffner (who would go on to make Planet of the Apes, Patton and Papillon), it’s a classy, serious and slyly humourous account of a fictional US presidential election in which five candidates for an unnamed party split the vote and stop at nothing to beat their rivals to the White House. Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson lead the politicos slugging it out for the Oval Office, and Lee Tracy was nominated for an Oscar for reprising his stage role as the outgoing ‘hick’ president. Interesting fact: Ronald Reagan was rejected for a role in this film because a studio executive didn’t think he had ‘that presidential look.’ No extras.

(Optimum DVD retail)

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