Titled "Man of the Hour" in the UK, this movie based on a Barry Fleming novel stars Charles Coburn as the eponymous Colonel Effingham, just retired from military service, returning to live in his old hometown and looking for a new challenge. He soon finds his new vocation in life - righting the wrongs imposed upon his hometown, fighting the crooked Establishment of politicians and encouraging the townsfolk to abandon their apathetic ways and stand up for themselves. To do this he starts writing for a local newspaper, The Leader, where he is often at odds with both his cousin, young reported Al Marbury (William Eythe) and Editor, Earl Hoats (Allyn Joslyn). He finds more ready acceptance of his ideas from Ella Sue Dozier (Joan Bennett), daughter of the Leader's former owner.
While at heart it's a simple tale about community spirit and refusing to give up, there are some satirical jibes at the way American politics works, snappy dialogue for the most part and pleasing performances from Bennett and Joslyn (though Bennett's character is somewhat wasted). Eythe;'s acting is okay but his narration is poor (the voiceover thankfully only occasionally chimes in). The film mainly hinges on the larger-than-life performance of Charles Coburn, who is more than up to the job.
Overall Colonel Effingham's Raid is an enjoyable comedy that has aged remarkably well. Definitely recommended viewing.
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