Preston Sturges Wiki
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 the political machine. 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.


  • Credited Cast
  • Brian Donlevy as Dan McGinty
  • Muriel Angelus as Catherine McGinty
  • Akim Tamiroff as The Boss
  • Allyn Joslyn as George
  • William Demarest as The Politician
  • Louis Jean Heydt as Thompson
  • Harry Rosenthal as Louie, the Bodyguard
  • Arthur Hoyt as Mayor Tillinghast
  • Libby Taylor as Bessy
  • Thurston Hall as Mr. Maxwell
  • Steffi Duna as the Girl
  • Esther Howard as Madame LaJolla
  • Frank C. Moran as The Boss' Chauffeur
  • Jimmy Conlin as The Lookout
  • Dewey Robinson as Benny Felgman
  • Donnie Kerr as Catherine's Boy (age 4)
  • Mary Thomas as Catherine's Girl (age 6)
  • Drew Roddy as Catherine's Boy (age 9)
  • Sheila Sheldon as Catherine's Girl (age 11)
  • Uncredited
  • Harry Hayden as Poll Watcher
  • Charles Moore as McGinty's Valet
  • Robert Warwick as Opposition Speaker
  • Emory Parnell as Policeman
  • Vic Potel as Cook
  • Byron Foulger as Governor's Secretary
  • Richard Carle as Dr. Jonas J. Jarvis