- The Washington Times - Friday, December 12, 2008

It’s not every day a sitting governor gets popped by the feds, including for offenses like bribery supposedly committed while he already was under a black cloud of suspicion. Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois - you make us want to rearrange our Netflix queue.

1. The Great McGinty - No one was more alive to the comedy of human fallibility than the great writer-director Preston Sturges. In this, his 1940 directorial debut, he follows a hobo through the paces of Chicago’s machine politics all the way to, wouldn’t you know, the governorship of Illinois.

2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - Naivete is pitted against venality in Frank Capra’s 1939 classic starring James Stewart as a neophyte senator. This being Frank Capra, venality loses.

3. All the King’s Men - Adapted from Robert Penn Warren’s acclaimed novel, this 1949 political melodrama loosely based on the biography of Louisiana Gov. Huey Long limns the corruptibility latent in populism.

4. The Last Hurrah - John Ford’s 1958 film starring Spencer Tracy as a big-city (Boston, it’s strongly hinted) mayor allowed for the possibility of a bright, benevolent side of machine politics but ultimately consigned it to the ash heap of the era Before Television.

5. Wag the Dog - Barry Levinson’s 1997 satire about a president plagued by a sex scandal contriving a war to distract the public may or may not be a classic of the genre. Yet its title found a life of its own in the lexicon of corruption.


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