Friday, August 08, 2008

"Vote" Stealing

A former White House aide is suing everybody in sight for swiping the idea for the new Kevin Costner-Kelsey Grammer movie, "Swing Vote," in which a presidential election comes down to one alcoholic man's ballot, but there's a wee problem: The same movie was made back in 1939 under the title, "The Great Man Votes."

As a teenager, I was impressed by the antics of politicians to persuade John Barrymore (who by then did not have to do much acting to play a boozy has-been), the only registered voter in a key precinct, to declare himself for the incumbent mayor.

Now Bradley Blakeman, a former aide to President George W. Bush, claims in a lawsuit that "Swing Vote" rips off his story, "Go November," which bears a "striking resemblance" to the movie just released by Disney.

"The Great Man Votes" was directed and co-written by Garson Kanin, a talented man who later wrote one of the best political movies of all time, "Born Yesterday."

I still remember the punch line of "Great Man": After being bribed, flattered and paraded around as a hero, Barrymore tells his kids, "Nice man, the mayor. Almost makes me wish I had voted for him."

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