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All the King's Men (1949)

All the King's Men (1949)

aka All the King's Men

Directed By: 
Details: 109 mins · English

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Plot:

All The King's Men is the story of the rise of politician Willie Stark (Broderick Crawford) from a rural county seat to the governor's mansion. He first teaches himself law and becomes a lawyer, championing the local people and gaining popularity. He then decides to go into politics. Along the way he loses his innocence, and becomes as corrupt as the politicians he once fought against.

The main story is a thinly disguised version of the rise and assassination of real-life 1930s Louisiana Governor, Huey Long. Also included is a series of complex relationships between a journalist friend who slowly sours to his ways, the journalist's girlfriend (who has an affair with Stark), her brother (a top surgeon), her uncle (a top judge who is appointed Attorney General but eventually resigns).

When his son becomes paralyzed following a drunk driving accident that kills a female passenger, Stark's world starts to unravel and he discovers that not everyone can be bought off.

The story has a complex series of relationships. All is seen through the eyes of the journalist, Jack Burden, who admires Stark and even when disillusioned still sticks by him. Stark's campaign assistant, Sadie (Mercedes McCambridge) is clearly in love with Stark and wants him to leave his wife, Lucy. Meanwhile Stark philanders and gets involved with many women, most notably Jack's own girlfriend, Anne Stanton.

When Stark's reputation is brought into disrepute by Judge Stanton (Anne's uncle) he seeks to blacken the judge's name. When he eventually succeeds the judge commits suicide. Anne seems to forgive him, but her brother, a doctor and the surgeon who helped saved his son's life after the car crash, cannot. The doctor eventually assassinates Stark after he wins an impeachment investigation. The doctor in turn is shot down by Sugar Boy, Stark's fawning assistant.

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