The Great Mcginty

Preston Sturges’s first film as writer-director (1940) and one of his most cynical comediesa cut below his best work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see it. Brian Donlevy plays a bum who cheats and lies his way into the office of the governor of his state, then is toppled when he’s tempted to become honest. As in a lot of Sturges’s work, the funniest lines and moments tend to come from the secondary players; Akim Tamiroff and William Demarest are particular treats. 81 min. (JR)

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