William K. Howard

T. it.: “Potenza e gloria”; Scen.: Preston Sturges; F.: James Wong Howe; M.: Paul Weatherwax; Scgf.: Max Parker; Cost.: Rita Kaufman; Mu.: Peter Brunelli, Louis De Francesco, J. S. Zamecnik (non accr.), diretta da Louis de Francesco; Su.: A. W. Protzman; Ass. R.: Horace Hough; Int.: Spencer Tracy (Tom Garner), Colleen Moore (Sally Garner), Ralph Morgan (Henry), Helen Vinson (Eve Borden), Phillip Trent (Tom Garner Jr.), Henry Kolker (Mr Borden), Sarah Padden (moglie di Henry), Billy O’Brien (Tom da giovane), Cullen Johnson (Henry da giovane), J. Farrell McDonald (Mulligan); Prod.: Fox Film Corporation; 35mm. D.: 77’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

This seldom seen classic, whose original negative was destroyed by fire many years ago, is often considered a forerunner of Citizen Kane. Preston Sturges’ script tells the rags-to-riches story of railroad executive Tom Garner (Spencer Tracy) through a series of flashbacks narrated by his longtime friend Henry (Ralph Morgan). Contemporary audiences may find the narration heavy-handed and trite at times, but they should enjoy speculating to what extent the film’s non-linear construction, plot and innovative cinematography (by James Wong Howe) influenced Orson Welles while he was planning Citizen Kane. The studio coined the word “narratage” to describe the use of flashbacks whit narration over them, and this “narratage” style can also be seen in The Sin of Nora Moran. The Power and the Glory was loosely based on the life of C.W. Post, the cereal tycoon and grandfather of Sturges second wife, Eleanor Hutton. The film’s producer, Jesse Lasky wrote in his autobiography, “It was the most perfect script I’d ever seen”. It became the first original screen story written on a royalty basis in much the same way as a stage play. This shocking precedent made producers nervous about the strong creative muscle writers would start exerting. Like the Hearst figure in Citizen Kane, Tom Garner symbolizes the best and worst of industrialization. But Tracy’s depiction is more sympathetic and less menacing than Welles’.

Donna Rossin UCLA Filmand Television Archive–Tenth Festival of Preservation, 2000

Copy From

Restored in 2000 from a 35mm nitrate print, a 35mm acetate fine grain master positive and Preston Sturges’ personal 16mm print. Restoration supervised by Robert Gitt (UCLA) and Schawn Belston (Fox). Laboratory services by Triage Motion Picture Services. Sound services by DJ Audio and Audio Mechanics