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THE BEST MAN: Sex Scandals and Politics at the Movies Pt. 3

Cliff Robertson, The Best Man
Cliff Robertson, The Best Man

The Best Man (1964)

Otto Preminger's ADVISE & CONSENT: Sex Scandals and Politics at the Movies Pt. 2

Adapted by Gore Vidal from his own play, The Best Man has more dirty politics, more homoerotic activity in the distant past, and more Henry Fonda.

The "Best Man" of the title refers to the guy who shall eventually win the presidency of the United States. The title, however, is ironic. The film's "hopeful" ending notwithstanding, Vidal, who also penned the homosexuality-cannibalism-lobotomy-themed Suddenly Last Summer, makes sure we understand that the U.S. presidency actually belongs to the most skillful game player.

Eager to win his party's presidential nomination, Cliff Robertson's young, ambitious Joe Cantwell is an expert at political gamesmanship. But there's a glitch: namely, an intimate relationship with another man back during World War II.

Franklin J. Schaffner, best known for Planet of the Apes and the Oscar-winning Patton, directed. Though not as fierce as it should have been, The Best Man remains one of Schaffner's best efforts.

Also in the Best Man cast: Edie Adams, Ann Sothern, Lee Tracy, Margaret Leighton, Kevin McCarthy, Shelley Berman, Gene Raymond, and Richard Arlen.

The Best Man earned veteran Lee Tracy Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category. Tracy's fellow MGM veteran Ann Sothern earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Photo: Via Doctor Macro

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