In 1945, James Cagney , through his independent production company, bought the rights to a lurid novel by Adria Locke Langley , concerning the rise of a Southern demagogue, loosely based on the political career of Huey Long . By the time the film finally went into production and was released in 1953, the film became an also-ran, trailing behind Robert Rossen 's Oscar-winning production All the King's Men , which concerned the same subject. The film, directed by Raoul Walsh , never escapes from the towering shadows of the Rossen film, so it becomes, in the end, a matter of preference for the lead character -- whether one prefers the looming intimidation of Broderick Crawford or the brisk pugnacity of James Cagney . Cagney plays swamp peddler Hank Martin, who tries to ride into the governor's mansion in a backroad Southern state by making a crusade out of the plight of the poor and impoverished majority of the state. He begins his political assent by leading a sharecropper's revolt against the rip-offs the sharecroppers are receiving at the local cotton mill. But things become more intense and Hank Martin sows the seeds of his own destruction when he makes a deal with a local, crooked political boss in order to get ahead in his political career. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
- Political Drama, Satire
- Political Corruption, Labor Unions, Rise and Fall Stories
- 01 hr 28 min
- March 23, 2009
- Barbara Hale , Anne Francis , Warner Anderson , John McIntire , James Cagney
- Jeanne Cagney , Roland Winters , Irene Tedrow , Sarah Selby , Sam McDaniel , Fay Roope , Henry Kulky , Burt Mustin , James Griffith , Lon Chaney Jr. , Frank McHugh , Larry Keating , Onslow Stevens , James Millican , Mickey Simpson , Sara Haden , Ellen Corby , William "Bill" Phillips
- Raoul Walsh
Rating: NR - Suitable for Children
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