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THE BEST MAN (1964) cruel and wonderful!


papyrusbeetle
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Everything about this film is a joy---it is cruel and vicious and still---just right.

One of the "Washington paranoia" black-and-white films that came out in the 1960's, this little number hasn't dated at all.

Because we love (and hate) the characters, and "politics" sorts of fades away, and the film belongs to the actors.

STOLEN by freaky Shelley Berman.

GRACED by the real Mahalia Jackson!

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11 minutes ago, papyrusbeetle said:

Everything about this film is a joy---it is cruel and vicious and still---just right.

One of the "Washington paranoia" black-and-white films that came out in the 1960's, this little number hasn't dated at all.

Because we love (and hate) the characters, and "politics" sorts of fades away, and the film belongs to the actors.

STOLEN by freaky Shelley Berman.

GRACED by the real Mahalia Jackson!

I enjoy this film a lot too. My favorite performer in it is not Berman. Rather, I think Ann Sothern steals the picture in her scenes. But they're all great in this story. And yes, it does hold up well all these years later.

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  • 5 weeks later...

It's well done --even singularly well-done --as an example of it's genera and species.

I don't consider it 'dated' at all--the 60s and 70s had scads of great political movies; and its to the great embarrassment of contemporary Hollywood that cinema today can't even do this much. Instead; we have drooling kiddie franchises; aliens-ninjas-robots-pirates-zombies-superheros. As needed as these political topics are and as salient as these dramatic behind-the-scenes stories still are; we don't get them. This film is a stinging reminder of how excellent they can be.

The highlight for me is seeing Cliff Robertson playing a Richard Nixon-like character. Robertson is riveting whenever he played a villain.

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4 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

The highlight for me is seeing Cliff Robertson playing a Richard Nixon-like character. Robertson is riveting whenever he played a villain.

Yes. I keep hoping TCM will give him a Summer Under the Stars tribute. Maybe next August..? He earned the Oscar for CHARLY but I think many of his other performances are even better.

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4 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

It's well done --even singularly well-done --as an example of it's genera and species.

I don't consider it 'dated' at all--the 60s and 70s had scads of great political movies; and its to the great embarrassment of contemporary Hollywood that cinema today can't even do this much. Instead; we have drooling kiddie franchises; aliens-ninjas-robots-pirates-zombies-superheros. As needed as these political topics are and as salient as these dramatic behind-the-scenes stories still are; we don't get them. This film is a stinging reminder of how excellent they can be.

The highlight for me is seeing Cliff Robertson playing a Richard Nixon-like character. Robertson is riveting whenever he played a villain.

I agree the The Best Man is NOT 'dated'.   In fact when I saw this thread the first thing that came to mind is how relevant the film is to what is going on in US politics today.

Cliff Robertson does a solid job of acting in this film.   Always been a fan and yea,  he plays a villain well,  but I also find him charming in light roles like Sunday In the Park with Jane Fonda and Rod Taylor. 

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whoa!!!!

In some people's eyes Cliff Robertson might be Nixon, but I've always believed he was modeled after

Robert Kennedy (a man that Gore Vidal knew well, and despised!)

What i LOVE about THE BEST MAN is that BOTH main characters (Fonda, Robertson) have flaws and strengths.

We also get handed a "background" on both men that explains these. So, we are ready for the "showdown".

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26 minutes ago, papyrusbeetle said:

whoa!!!!

In some people's eyes Cliff Robertson might be Nixon, but I've always believed he was modeled after

Robert Kennedy (a man that Gore Vidal knew well, and despised!)

What i LOVE about THE BEST MAN is that BOTH main characters (Fonda, Robertson) have flaws and strengths.

We also get handed a "background" on both men that explains these. So, we are ready for the "showdown".

Thoughtful post...I like the way you've described it.

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