All the King’s Men


Friday, December 6, 2013, 7:00pm


Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

Movie stillAll the King’s Men (1949) with Harvard Film Archive

About the Event
Join us for a screening of the 1949 classic All the King’s Men at Harvard Film Archive’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Directed by Robert Rossen, All the King’s Men was based on the novel by Robert Penn Warren chronicling the rise and fall of local politician Willie Stark (based loosely on a former governor of Louisiana named Huey Long). Ash Center Director Tony Saich will introduce the film with brief remarks on how politics has or has not changed in the last six decades and on the health of American democracy today. From November 29 - December 23, 2013, the Harvard Film Archive is running the film series “The Bodies and Souls of Robert Rossen.”

In their description of the series, the Film Archive writes, “As his power in Hollywood escalated, the very forces Rossen described in his films ate away at the man himself. Rossen found the abstract ideals of politics – like stylized cinematic stereotypes – may not hold up to humanity’s unpredictable dips and swerves. He witnessed deception, disillusion, contradiction and paradox within the politics of studios, the Communist Party, the Screenwriters’ Guild, the U.S. Government and Hollywood’s Left and Right. Feeling betrayed by his party while branded as one of the “Unfriendly Nineteen” by the government, he manifested the storm of external and internal politics through his dark triumph, All the King’s Men. Consolidating control as few had done before, he took over as writer, director and producer on the winding, documentary-like political exorcism, painfully shading every nuance of ethical compromise for the imagined greater good.” Read more>>

Read the Challenges to Democracy blog post about his event

Reading List
Politico, Obama vs. tea party: Think FDR vs. Huey Long (Alan Brinkley): “Huey Long, the former governor of Louisiana and, by 1934, a senator, was leading an improbable movement to redistribute wealth. “Share Our Wealth” attracted broad support across much of the country with Long’s promise to guarantee every family $5,000 in wealth and annual income of $2,000 to $2,500 a year – funded by confiscatory taxes on the rich.”

CNN, Obstructing government, from Huey Long to Ted Cruz (Nicolaus Mills): “For Huey Long, annoying the president was great fun. He helped get the Senate to reject the treaty that would have brought the United States into the World Court, and he launched an unsuccessful effort to make employees of the National Recovery Administration subject to Senate confirmation. The problem was that Long often went beyond being annoying with his obstructionism.”