The Great Man Votes

One of John Barrymore's last respectable roles was as an alcoholic ex-professor in this sentimental comedy directed by Garson Kanin (1939). The state wants to take his kids away, but when he turns out to possess the deciding vote in a local election, he becomes the toast of the town. Barrymore is put through all the humiliations he routinely suffered at this point in his career—drunken renditions of classic texts, constant references to his glorious past and pathetic present—but it's a little less embarrassing this time, perhaps because the actor himself hangs so tenaciously to the shards of his dignity. With Virginia Weidler and William Demarest.

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