On October 30 at 7pm, Westport Cinema Initiative will host a screening and talkback of “The Candidate”, the 1972 film starring Robert Redford and Peter Boyle, directed by Michael Ritchie. The Academy-Award winning screenplay examines the various facets and machinations involved in political campaigns and was written by Jeremy Larner, a speechwriter for Senator Eugene J. McCarthy during McCarthy’s campaign for the 1968 Democratic Presidential nomination. The screening will take place at Westport’s Town Hall at 110 Myrtle Avenue. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for charter members and available online or at the door.
Sandy Lefkowitz, Executive Director of Westport Cinema Initiative, says “We selected this film because it’s lauded by critics including Vincent Canby of the New York Times who called it one of the few good, truly funny American political comedies ever made.” In the film, Marvin Lucas (Peter Boyle), a political election specialist, must find a Democratic candidate to oppose the incumbent California U.S. Senator Crocker Jarmon (Don Porter), a popular Republican. With no big-name Democrat eager to enter the unwinnable race, Lucas seeks out Bill McKay (Robert Redford), the idealistic, charismatic son of former governor John J. McKay (Melvyn Douglas).
Lucas gives McKay a proposition: since Jarmon cannot lose and the race is already decided, McKay is free to campaign saying exactly what he wants. McKay accepts in order to have the chance to spread his values. Jarmon proposes a debate and McKay agrees to give answers tailored by Lucas, but just as the debate is ending, McKay blurts out that the debate had not addressed real issues such as poverty and race relations. Lucas is furious, as this will hurt the campaign, but in fact, polls begin to narrow the incumbent’s lead and on election day, McKay wins. In the final scene, he escapes the victory party and pulls Lucas into a room while throngs of journalists clamor outside. McKay famously asks Lucas, ” What do we do now?”
A talkback, to be announced, will immediately follow the film.