Best Picture Winners Part 22 (of 87): All the King’s Men


Title: All the King’s Men
Year: 1949
Starring: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Mercedes McCambridge
Director: Robert Rossen
Runtime: 1 hr 49 mins

Is It Any Good?: With it’s themes of corruption and the American dream this is one winner that holds up in a contemporary light. Broderick Crawford transforms into Willie Stark, going from coy yokel into merciless politician almost overnight. Crawford plays Stark with a paranoia one that envelops the screen whenever he’s on it. For this Crawford took home the Oscar himself for Best Lead Actor, and as his assistant slash lover Sadie Burke; Mercedes McCambridge took home the trophy for Supporting Actress. It was a huge departure from the war time epics that dominated the decade, and the foil to last years winning Shakespeare adaption. It seemed like a sign of things to come, that smart interesting story telling were the order of the day.

Memorable Quote:Sadie Burke: He’ll ditch everybody in the whole world, because that’s what Willie wants. Nobody in the world but him!

Competition: Competition here was stiff, and those previously mentioned war epics were still going strong with two nominated here. You had the Gregory Peck lead, Henry King directed Twelve O’Clock High gives depth to Peck as an actor and is a well-rounded war epic. Our other WWII entry is the recreation of “The Battle of the Bulge” in Battleground William Wellman takes us on a gritty ride through a time that upon it’s initial opening wasn’t too long ago. Olivia de Havilland shines in William Wyler’s period piece The Heiress for which she won the Oscar for Best Lead Actress. Lastly we have Joseph Mankiewicz’s Best Director winning film A Letter to Three Wives which brings the funny in this year of very serious films overall. Now we move into an interesting period in American cinema the 1950’s

What lies ahead for the movies of this decade which without conflict should bring forth interesting returns in all art forms. See you there.

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