A legend of his own devising, Stark is brought to fervid, boisterous life by Broderick Crawford in one of those monolithic, definitive parts that eclipses an entire career. Rossen’s classical, unassertive directing style mostly serves to get out of his way.
Rossen is a very practical. His hands are invisible which is such a underrated aspect of film directors. The performances across the board are extraordinary. I love the toughness of Mercedes McCambridge. She's as strong here as she was in Johnny Guitar. A fine piece of drama.
***1/2. Three Academy Awards and four other nominations. Do politics corrupt or was Willie Stark corrupt since the start? The film (and the novel) asks a lot of questions that are still relevant today. I love Stark's motto: 'Good can't only come from Bad'. A DVD to put on your library's shelves.
Great performance from Broderick Crawford, certainly at an Oscar level. It's hard to do this whole story in under two hours without the turning of Willie Stark feeling a bit rushed. Still, all in all, Rossen does about as well as can be expected.
Don't let the bad critical reviews of the remake scare you away from the story. The story is very good and this original is very compelling. Mercedes McCambridge who provided the voice of the devil in the Exorcist is a young woman (still with a unique voice) in this film; she gives a memorable performance.