Allen Drury's best-selling novel is transformed into this probing examination of the lust for power in the halls of Congress. An all-star cast is paced by Henry Fonda (in a perverse bit of casting) as the shady politico who's nominated for U.S. Secretary of State. Don Murray plays the head of the committee reviewing the nomination, an honest Senator with a homosexual skeleton rattling in his closet. George Grizzard is the strident McCarthyite who leads the attack against Murray in support of Fonda. Walter Pidgeon gives a nuanced performance as the virtuous Majority leader, Charles Laughton is the 'Southernsmooth rebellious solon" and Franchot Tone plays the ailing, testy president of dubious virtue who allows cheap conniving and lies told under oath (shades of Richard Nixon). Add Gene Tierney, Peter Lawford, Lew Ayres and Burgess Meredith to make a stunning cast complete. This probing examination of the seedy underbelly of politics is arguably one of the best films of its genre ever made, and certainly one of the most important and effective of Otto Preminger's career.

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