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The Best Man Details


Gore Vidal adapted his biting and bitter political satire from his hit Broadway play. Franklin J. Schaffner directed and Haskell Wexler provided the sharp-edged cinematography. The story concerns the political back-biting and smear politics involved in a presidential election year scramble by potential presidential party nominees. Lee Tracy (in an Oscar-nominated performance and his final screen role) is Art Hockstader, a dying president who refuses to throw his support behind any of his party's presidential hopefuls. Hoping to get the nod as the party's presidential candidate is liberal do-gooder William Russell (Henry Fonda). His wife Alice (Margaret Leighton) wants to get a divorce from Russell but is delaying the divorce proceedings until after the party convention. Opposing Russell for the nomination is Joe Cantwell (Cliff Robertson), a slick and unscrupulous political monster who will use any bit of dirt to get ahead in the party. When he discovers that Russell once suffered from mental problems, he threatens to use it against him. Russell then finds out that Cantwell once had a homosexual relationship. Russell, who abhors smear politics, now has to decide whether to use the information against Cantwell or bury the secret and risk losing the nomination. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Lee Tracy Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1964 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Lee Tracy Best Supporting Actor 1964 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Ann Sothern Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1964 Nominee


Henry Fonda
as William Russell
Cliff Robertson
as Joe Cantwell
Edie Adams
as Mabel Cantwell
Margaret Leighton
as Alice Russell
Shelley Berman
as Sheldon Bascomb
Lee Tracy
as Art Hockstader
Ann Sothern
as Mrs. Gamadge
Gene Raymond
as Dan Cantwell
Kevin McCarthy
as Dick Jensen
Richard Arlen
as Oscar Anderson
Penny Singleton
as Mrs. Claypoole
George Kirgo
as Speechwriter
George Furth
as Tom
Natalie Masters
as Mrs. Anderson
Tyler McVey
as Chairman
Sherwood Keith
as Doctor
Mahalia Jackson
as Herself
Marie Blake
as Cleaning woman
Anne Newman
as Janet
Bill Stout
as Himself
Anne Newman
as Janet
Bill Stout
as Himself
Marie Blake
as Cleaning woman
Mahalia Jackson
as Herself


Franklin J. Schaffner
Lawrence Turman
Gore Vidal
Play Author
Gore Vidal
Haskell Wexler
Mort Lindsey
Composer (Music Score)
Robert Swink
Lyle Wheeler
Art Director