The Last Hurrah Analysis

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The Last Hurrah, a film directed by John Ford in 1958, illustrates the story of Frank Skeffington, an iron-fisted Irish American who rose from poverty, as the mayor of an unnamed New England city during the Golden Age of political machines and bossism. He represents the last generation of grassroots politicians that are replaced by younger candidates with the rise of media in politics. The film directly addresses and dissects urban machine politics in terms of representation and governance in political machines as well as other political institutions before and after the rise of televised campaigning. The film sheds light on many different aspects of local and urban politics while illustrating how the transformation and rising forces of new…show more content…
Cities of political competition gave rise to ethnic bossism and political machines that are supported by voters and entrepreneurs. The power is shifted to ethnic, professional politicians, which is evident in Mayor Skeffington’s close relationships with his various ethnic constituencies such as Gillen, Winslow, O’Gorman, Weinberg, and Ditto. He brings together the Irish, Italians, Jews, and even the WASPs represented by Winslow. The time period in which Skeffington was undefeated as mayor is set during the Golden Age of the Machine and Bossism meaning that ethnics and immigrants as well as the lower and middle class supported political machines because they worked according to neighborhood interests that expanded democracy. This is evident in the major ethnic groups that supported Skeffington who were loyal to the machine because they benefited from the machine, its political power, and its influence. We can determine that Skeffington brings these various groups together, and without him there is conflict, which is seen when Skeffington loses the election and his men begin arguing about how their usual strategies that involved large sums of street money failed to win the votes in certain
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