The Great McGinty
Written by Preston Sturges
Director Preston Sturges
Released 1940
Running time 82 minutes
Studio Paramount Pictures

The Great McGinty was the first film written and directed by Preston Sturges. It was released by Paramount in 1940, and won the Academy Award for best original screenplay.

A cynical political satire and inverted Horatio Alger story, the story revolves around Dan McGinty, who in flashback recalls how he rose from penniless bum through the political ranks until he became governor of state. This he accomplishes through ruthlessness and corruption, aided and abetted by his mentor, The Boss, leader of all the parties. Once he listens to his wife, however, and decides to become honest, he seals his own downfall.

Stars Brian Donlevy and Akim Tamiroff later reprised their roles in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.

Due to the budget of the film, which did not allow for outside casting or borrowing from other studios, Sturges used character actors and bit players who were on the Paramount roster. Of the ensemble cast, the majority would continue to work with Sturges throughout his career, becoming his personal "stock company." Stock players introduced in this film included William Demarest, Harry Rosenthal, Jimmy Conlin, Harry Hayden, Frank Moran, and Arthur Hoyt, all of whom would appear in Sturges' next six films consecutively. Other players who would re-appear, with less frequency, included Esther Howard, Emory Parnell, and Charles Moore.


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