Though now looking somewhat dated and its politics even more so and not being as dramatically interesting as some other true classics of the time (Manchurian Candidate, Witness for the Prosecution etc), there is still much to enjoy in Otto Preminger's political drama.
That's part of its charm, watching old masters such as Charles Laughton (his last film) as a scurrilous old senator, only too willing to do whatever's best for himself and Peter Fonda, as always, steadfast and measured as a candidate who's accused of once belonging to a communist organisation. But, for me, it's Walter Pidgeon's movie as the Senate's Majority Leader - a commanding yet sensitive performance, one you hold onto every word he reassuringly says, even if it's to the contrary.
I'm sure that back in its day (exactly half a century) the topics raised, including homosexual liaisons and blackmail, were the hot potatoes of the day and as every bit as controversial as anything we have today. So, a daring and visionary movie indeed and one that was not guaranteed box office success.
I feel a shorter review is in order here, partly as I believe it's the watching of the film, not the reading about it that is its pleasure, but I will say, that if you enjoy a meaty (OK, lengthy), involved, entertaining, intelligent, but with a smattering of caustic humour and well acted morality/political tale, this should be on your shortlist. If you found pleasure in films like Anatomy of a Murder, Witness for the Prosecution and other well-crafted films of the era, that hint of both nostalgia and slight creakiness, then is a film for you.
I saw it on BBC2 recently.