The Candidate
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  • EXCELLENT POLITICAL FLICK
    Robert Redford was behind the entertaining political movie "The Candidate" (1972), which goes a long way towards explaining how the game works. This film is really not a liberal one, which is what makes it worthwhile even after 30 years. It is supposed to be based on Edmund "Jerry" Brown, former California Governor Pat Brown's son. Jerry Brown at the time was a youthful Secretary of State who would go one to two terms as Governor. He was a new kind of pol, attractive, a bit of swinger who dated rock star Linda Rohnstadt, and representative of the Golden State image of the 1970s. They called him "Governor Moonbeam".
    Redford plays the son of the former Governor of California, played by Melvyn Douglas. The old man is old school all the way, having schmoozed his way up the slippery slope through implied corrupt deals with labor unions and other Democrat special interests. Redford is a young man who played football at Stanford and is now a social issues lawyer of the pro bono variety, helping Mexicans in Central California. Peter Boyle knew him at Stanford and is now a Democrat political consultant who recruits Redford to run for Senator against Crocker Jarman, an entrenched conservative Orange County Republican. Jarman could be Reagan, but he is as much a composite of the traditional Republican: Strong on defense, down on affirmative action and welfare, a real "up by the bootstraps" guy who emerged from the Depression and World War II to make up our "greatest generation."
    The film does an about-face on perceptions that, in many cases, turn out to be true. Redford is the rich kid with connections. Jarman beat the Depression like the rest of the U.S., without a social worker.
    "How did we do it?" he mocks.
    Redford's film wife is played by Karen Carlson, pure eye candy (but what happened to her career I cannot say?). She has ambitions of her own, and pushes him to do it because he has the "power," an undefined sexual charisma of the JFK variety. Redford plays a caricature of himself, handsome but considered an empty suit. His deal is he can say any outrageous thing because he cannot win anyway, and in so doing shows he has the brains. When he creeps up in the polls, the idealism gives way to standard politicking, complete with deals with his old man's crooked labor buddies. He wins, demonstrating the power of looks and TV advertising. In the end he expresses that he is not prepared for the task.

    STEVEN TRAVERS

    AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
    STWRITES@AOL.COM...more info

  • That's my Stepdad!!!
    In the movie, The Candidate,
    there is a scene early in the film, during the campaign,under a real San Francisco overcast sky, The Candidate, Robert Redford faces a gaggle local reporters
    including KGO channel 7 (!) Amongst the actors playing security personnel theres' a rather handsome silver haired guy standing close to Mr. Redford's right shoulder.
    Its a bit part but in real life it is a big high for
    myself and my family - that guy is Bill Tuohy - my Stepfather. In real life he was a highly ranked San Francisco Firefigher whose hobbies ranged from competing in the San Francisco Fireman's Olympics to landing little acting parts now and then. At home he never ran out love and affection for me and my sisters. So easy going.
    Can't wait to see him in the movie on DVD

    Love you, Bill ...more info
  • Imagine this - if you can...
    A young lawyer working among the disadvantaged decides to run for national office. Though a neophyte he has style and authencity. Despite his lack of specifics - and because of his stirring oratory - his unlikely campaign is on the verge of unseating a white haired, Conservative senator who the most glamorous of pseudo-liberals and the collegiate young will tell you is the pits. Meanwhile, the young man is meeting the big money people behind closed doors, and whatever "ideas" he once had are being diluted. He wins, turns to his advisors and asks, "What do we do now?"

    I hope a certain candidate running this year is better than this, but I wonder...


    ...more info
  • Still holds up today...
    A great look into the inside world of the political campaign. Redford plays a idealist with big ambitions, but little know how. (sound familiar?). As he inches his way higher up the holy grail of elected office, he finds his own morality slipping away. (with one of the great last lines in any movie). Redford has mentioned he might be interested in a sequel, I hope so, the dirty world of politics has only sunk deeper in a swamp of media shallowness.

    BTW - how about a new edition with commentary and proper aspect ratio....more info
  • Powerful, political dynamite...
    As the American public grows more dissatisfied with the corruption and ineptitude of their political candidates, movies like Michael Ritchie's "The Candidate" become all the more timely and relevant. A product of a cynical age and although a bit dated (the film was released in 1972, and Redford would follow with the cynical and conspiratorial anti-CIA film, "Three Days of the Condor" in 1973), "The Candidate" is a illustrative vehicle demonstrating how pollsters, admen, press agents, and what we would call now "spin doctors" packaged political candidates to an unsuspecting electorate before anyone had ever heard of blogs and the internet.

    As the liberal attorney-now Democratic senatorial-candidate, Bill McKay, Redford plays a man whose integrity and ideals fall prey to the American political and media machine that compel him to win. Peter Boyle, as McKay's campaign manager, and Melvyn Douglas, as the candidate's father, contribute vital supporting roles that are are as absorbing as the film itself.

    Ritchie's film, along with Elia Kazan's superb "A Face in the Crowd" (1958), no less than an indictment against the role the television media plays in political campaigns, should be required viewing in every undergraduate political science class. ...more info
  • History Repeats
    Since Kennedy and TV, marketing and the press do much to help elect our president. Image, TV presence, and passion (and money) seem to qualify our candidates for high office, as shown in this film. I commend the writers (and actors) for their political saavy in the production of this film. Could we not replace Redford with Obama?...more info
  • All the Way with Bill McKay?
    This is a fable about politics (like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"). A young idealistic man [the son of a former governor!] meets a professional political worker. The present US Senator loves oil, hates trees, and raises regressive taxes Can a challenger with a name, looks, and popular appeal become a successful candidate? The present Senator is a "bloviator" who revises history in telling stories about the past. [Does he remind you of Reagan?] McKay decides to run as a challenger and answers questions from the press. The professionals start to help McKay. [They do not tell about the big money men who support this candidate.] Does Crocker Jarman have the right stuff for today?

    There is a banquet for the candidates. Bill McKay makes a speech; he wants power for the people (but will not attack the corporations who hold power). There are topics about Vietnam, Red China, the environment, abortions. We see the candidate being prepared to answer questions. McKay visits people on the beach, the black ghetto, and meets people. He has charisma and wins in the primary. [No mention how the needed funds are raised; it's a good investment for some.] Now McKay must reach to those who can decide the general election. McKay promises "A Better Way" for the people of California. [Deliberately ambiguous?] This film explains how a campaign works. A brush fire allows a candidate to speak against policies, but the incumbent can make things happen. Is "mass transit" really a fix for placing people far away from their jobs?

    There is a problem at home. Will his wife's outfit work to gain votes? Are candidates sold by television advertising? [Ever since 1952.] Ambiguous statements by candidates have been around since Andrew Jackson's time. The professionals have raised McKay's polls by 14 points, closing the gap. They rehearse McKay for his debate with Jarman. McKay says problems can be cured without raising taxes. [Is this still true?] McKay's closing remarks are extemporaneous. Can he cure poverty, unemployment, crime, and unhappiness? The head of the Teamster's Union endorses McKay; they each have something in common: support from the other. Why does California have high unemployment? McKay turns into a rhetorician, asking questions that have no answers but somehow sound good. A parade is scheduled for lunch hour so the streets will be filled with people. Cars are stopped at intersections to create a traffic jam. Election day arrives with projections and early returns. The vote slowly puts McKay in the lead, and he wins. McKay has become dependent on his advisors. What will he do now?

    This film as a hit because it showed the scenes that are kept from the public in this story about politics. "The Selling of the President" pioneered this approach. A candidate tells the people what they want to hear, then cooperates with the special interests when he gets into office. People are fooled over and over, until the time when they form a political party that acts for their interests. Will they ever learn? Not if the corporate media can prevent it.
    ...more info
  • EXCELLENT POLITICAL FLICK
    Robert Redford was behind the entertaining political movie "The Candidate" (1972), which goes a long way towards explaining how the game works. This film is really not a liberal one, which is what makes it worthwhile even after 30 years. It is supposed to be based on Edmund "Jerry" Brown, former California Governor Pat Brown's son. Jerry Brown at the time was a youthful Secretary of State who would go one to two terms as Governor. He was a new kind of pol, attractive, a bit of swinger who dated rock star Linda Rohnstadt, and representative of the Golden State image of the 1970s. They called him "Governor Moonbeam".
    Redford plays the son of the former Governor of California, played by Melvyn Douglas. The old man is old school all the way, having schmoozed his way up the slippery slope through implied corrupt deals with labor unions and other Democrat special interests. Redford is a young man who played football at Stanford and is now a social issues lawyer of the pro bono variety, helping Mexicans in Central California. Peter Boyle knew him at Stanford and is now a Democrat political consultant who recruits Redford to run for Senator against Crocker Jarman, an entrenched conservative Orange County Republican. Jarman could be Reagan, but he is as much a composite of the traditional Republican: Strong on defense, down on affirmative action and welfare, a real "up by the bootstraps" guy who emerged from the Depression and World War II to make up our "greatest generation."
    The film does an about-face on perceptions that, in many cases, turn out to be true. Redford is the rich kid with connections. Jarman beat the Depression like the rest of the U.S., without a social worker.
    "How did we do it?" he mocks.
    Redford's film wife is played by Karen Carlson, pure eye candy (but what happened to her career I cannot say?). She has ambitions of her own, and pushes him to do it because he has the "power," an undefined sexual charisma of the JFK variety. Redford plays a caricature of himself, handsome but considered an empty suit. His deal is he can say any outrageous thing because he cannot win anyway, and in so doing shows he has the brains. When he creeps up in the polls, the idealism gives way to standard politicking, complete with deals with his old man's crooked labor buddies. He wins, demonstrating the power of looks and TV advertising. In the end he expresses that he is not prepared for the task....more info
  • An interesting political drama with the star power of Redford
    This movie pits an idealist first time liberal candidate against an incumbent windbag conservative. Robert Redford plays the liberal idealist (one of his easier roles to fit into). He is the son of a former governor.
    The movie brought back memories of Jerry Brown (aka "governor moonbeam"). Jerry Brown was the son of former CA Governor Pat Brown. He served two terms as California Governor starting in 1975. His quirky liberal idealism more or less prevented him from attaining national office as either a U.S. Senator or U.S. President. Brown did a pretty good job as governor. He was fiscally responsible and did not run the state into the ground. His Supreme Court appointments alienated him with the voters (the Chief Justice and two other justices were recalled by the voters, including yours truly, because they would not enforce the death penalty).

    If you have a cynical view of national politics, this movie will not dissuade you! It kind of reminds me of our corrupt judicial process (we have the best legal system that money can buy). Those who can utilize the media the most and the best are able to manipulate the voters and greatly enhance their chances of winning elections. By the end of the movie, Redford is no longer speaking strictly from his heart, but he is utilizing the hot button issues that resonate most with the voters. When elected his dad brands him a politician and Redford is left wondering, "what next."

    The Candidate does not rise to the level of "All the President's Men," "Butch Cassidy," "The Sting," etc. Like Tiger Woods," Redford's "B" game is better than most. I do not think it has aged as well as most of his other movies. I saw most of his 1970s and 1980s movies at the theatre. One of my favorite Redford scenes is the river crossing in A Bridge Too Far. The Candidate has very little of that intensity. ...more info
  • Thought-Provoking
    During the season leading up to the 2008 Presidential Elections, this film raises some interesting questions about the role of the media in shaping who we believe politicians are. After this, and similar films, one has to wonder about the reality of the men being considered for the country's highest office. ...more info
  • political class
    My daughter needed the film for her political science class. She really enjoyed the movie and so did I. Her professor said she made a good choice in films....more info
  • From California Senator to King of Aspen.
    Political fantasy in which Robert Redford discovers that mounting a successful campaign for an "important" office -- in this case, a U.S. Senate seat representing California -- requires the candidate to be shallow, media-friendly, etc. The gist of the thing is that he loses his naivety, the poor baby. Give me a break. I suppose the movie succeeds as fantasy, and there are some moments and characters that elicit chuckles during the campaign trail. There's the occasional telling detail that suggests the screenwriters -- who had actually worked for real-life politicians -- have been there and done that. But it must again be stressed that *The Candidate* is mostly fantasy. Indeed, Redford's character is fantasy: he never existed, doesn't exist now, and will not exist in the future. And the screenwriters -- the liars -- KNOW this. Politics is a dirty business that attracts dirty people, like a horse-apple attracts flies. The desire to be a big-time American politician comes with having a sheer, unrelenting hatred of all that is good and decent. The producers and writers of *The Candidate* understood this (even if their liberal, golden-boy Hollywood star did not), and yet they chose to waste our time with a beddy-bye story of a potential hero who ends up corrupted. The TRUTH is that anybody who wants to be a Senator is by definition corrupted already; anybody with any sense knows this....more info
  • "The Better Way??!"
    "The Candidate" is liberal Hollywood's wet dream of the "realities" of a political campaign.

    Robert Redford (looking purposely Kennedyesque) is Bill McKay, a young crusading liberal attorney who's persuaded by political operative Marvin Lucas (Peter Boyle in a terrific performance) to run for the U.S. Senate against conservative Republican icon, Crocker Jarmon (even the name shows what a stacked deck the picture is), played by 50's TV sitcom star, Don Porter.

    Handsome and hip McKay is depicted as pro busing, pro welfare and pro choice...while stodgy old Jarmon is shown mouthing tired old conservative attitudes about Americans working hard and picking themselves up by their own bootstraps.

    The cast is uniformly excellent, especailly the great Allen Garfield as Mc Kay's media consultant whose shtick is breaking bags of lollipops with a hammer and sucking on the smashed pieces. Redford gives a slyly appealing movie star performance and is especially superb in one scene in which, completely burned out from campaigning, begins to satirize the platitudes his speechwriters have given him ("when the greatest country in the world can't feed the foodless!").

    One wonders what kind of movie "The Candidate" would have been if Mc Kay's opponent was as equally young and hip and spoke with the same fervor as McKay without the tired old right wing cliches.

    Michael Ritchie directs in docudrama style from a script by Jeremly Larner who suposedly based the material on the Tunney-Murphy campaign in California....more info

  • An All American Must See Movie
    Take a good look at Bush, & you'll see The Candidate! Not as Bright as Redford though......more info
  • MITT ROMNEY?
    Redford in his prime was hard to beat; on the screen or in this film. The California Democrats have no one to run against 3 term incumdent Crocker Jarman for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Redford reluclantly agrees, on the provision that he be allowed to be "his own man". Even his father, a former Republican Governor, refuses to endorse him at first. But Redford's good looks, his ability to simply address complicated problems, his political virginity are exacyly the issues that attract the voters. Enter the "experts", exit Redford's principles. He watches, almost helplessly,as his"friends" work for him, and on him on how to win, abeted by his father's background experiences. The candidate, exhausted by the grind, almost loses himself in giddyness, only to be saved by the authenticity of mass support. His eventual upset win leads to one of Hollywood's great movie one-liners. The paucity of reviews for this and other outstanding movies of the past, all indicate to me the seeming meaninglessness of history today.Too bad! Since the "victors" are always alleged to write it, why not investigate how the victors did it?...more info