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‘Swing Vote’s’ inspiration?

posted by Nell Minow

Great Man Votes.jpg“Swing Vote,” starring Kevin Costner, opens this week. It stars Kevin Costner as a slacker whose vote will decide the outcome of a Presidential election. There’s nothing in the credits to indicate any connection to an earlier movie, but it sounds a lot like a 1939 film starring John Barrymore called “The Great Man Votes.” Both are about men who drink a lot and have young daughters who love them and want them to do better. And Barrymore’s character, like Costner’s, through a technicality, has the deciding vote in an election. It’s worth seeing for Barrymore’s performance — Garson Kanin, who directed, said that Barrymore was so out of it he needed cue cards — then a rarity — even if the only thing he had to say in a scene was “No,” but that he was able on command not just to cry but to determine whether the little tear would come before or after the big one.

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