The LuLac Edition #736, Feb. 22nd, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: CLIFF ROBERTSON AND HENRY FONDA IN A MOMENT OF CONFLICT IN THE 1964 MOVIE "THE BEST MAN", FONDA IN THE TUB WITH JOHN HENRY FAULK TRYING TO WRANGLE THE VEEP NOMINATION AND LEE TRACY ON HIS DEATHBED IN GORE VIDAL'S CLASSIC FILM.
Since this is Oscar night, we'll give you a taste of some Presidential movies. My favorite Political movie of all time is "The Best Man". Here's the plot:
They clash at the nominating convention and lobby for the crucial support of dying former President Art Hockstader (Lee Tracy). The pragmatic Hockstader (a character clearly based on Harry Truman, particularly his comments on "striking a blow for liberty" whenever he drinks a bourbon) prefers Russell, but worries about his indecisiveness and overdedication to principle; he despises Cantwell, but appreciates his toughness and willingness to do what it takes. In fact, Hockstader had intended to publicly support Cantwell, but the candidate blunders badly. When the two speak privately, Cantwell attacks Russell with illegally-obtained psychological reports, mistakenly assuming that Hockstader was for the more liberal man. The former president tells Cantwell that he doesn't mind a "bastard", but objects to a stupid one, and switches to Russell. However, in his opening-night speech, he endorses neither.
One of Russell's aides digs up Sheldon Bascomb (Shelley Berman). He served in the military with Cantwell, and is willing to link him to homosexual activity while stationed in Alaska during World War II. Hockstader and Russell's closest advisors press Russell to grab the opportunity, but he resists. As the first round of voting begins, he arranges to meet Cantwell privately, to let his rival know what he can do. However, Cantwell confronts Bascomb and refutes his slander. Russell threatens to use the allegation anyway, but though Cantwell does not understand what makes his opponent tick, he knows this much - Russell does not have the stomach for tactics that dirty. In the end, Russell shocks him by throwing his support behind a third, relatively unknown candidate, ending both their chances.
The Manchiurian Candidate.