1940 Political Parody Predicts Trump
If ever there was a perfect time for a remake of the 1940 political satire classic THE GREAT MCGINTY, it’s now. Written at the time the Great Depression was winding down and Europe was in strife pre-WWII, even the events of the day seems to be a reflection of today’s political theater. Today we are coming out of the Great Recession, we are seeing strife in Europe as Great Britain leaves the EU and constant terrorist attacks rock the area like the bombs of war.
The Great McGinty, released in 1940 follows the rise to power of a morally bereft strong arm named Daniel McGinty. The down on his luck loser enters the field of politics when he is hired to commit voter fraud by voting under several names in different districts in order to help elect a dishonest mayor.
The mobster in charge of the graft takes a liking to McGinty’s manner which is bold, “Tell it like I see it.” and in your face.
He recruits McGinty at first to help him collect delinquent protection money, and then to run for the office himself. Of course McGinty wins and is obligated to the boss who sets him to work making his friends in the construction and service industries wealthy.
Written as a parody of the political landscape of the 40s, the film closely reflects the way we see politics in the world today. The brash and dishonest pull the strings of the desperate, and those who rise to power are the ones willing to fight the dirtiest.
The movie has an underlying theme of possible redemption, as the character McGinty is seen to be a family man with a hidden soft side, a trait which proves to be his undoing. We hope for that in our candidates.
The film is 76 years old, but despite its dated lines, forgotten fashion and muted colors THE GREAT MCGINTY’s relevance is in the fact that although we have more access to the mistakes of history, perhaps because of the weakness of a mere man, we are still doomed to repeat it.