“Son, you’re a politician.”
It’s the look of horror that appears on Robert Redford’s face that says it all. Redford’s character, Bill McKay, has beaten up Crocker Jarmon in a statewide debate. Jarmon, now running for his 4th term as Senator, now realizes that he is the race of his life.
After the debate, McKay’s father—a former California Governor—pays him the ultimate compliment, knowing that his comments would probably cut to the bone. By becoming a politician, McKay has now gone the route that he would never travel; he has essentially sold his soul for little in return. On the evening when Redford’s McKay pulls off the upset over Jarmon, he escapes to an empty hotel room with his mercenary campaign manager, a Stanford classmate played by Peter Boyle, and asks, “What do we do now?”
Since we were on the eve of the 2012 presidential election, we thought it would be fun to look back at a political campaign classic. In 1972, director Michael Ritchie and Robert Redford debuted “The Candidate,” a film released to strong reviews. It was a script written by Jeremy Larner and we got together with him at Palio d’Asti in San Francisco.
“The Candidate” is to political junkies as “The Godfather” is for everybody else. There are certain moments within that movie that are acted so realistically and filmed with an eye of a documentarian. Most films about political campaigns have an artificial feel about them as if they were created by those whose only connection with the political world came from stepping into a voting booth. Continue reading