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Chicago Politics: A Theater of Power Part III

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Film Identifier: F.2005-08-0231
Run Time
0h 29m 12s
Mag Stripe
Date Produced
Fouth and final reel of the film Chicago Politics: A Theater of Power. Observational documentary following the 1987 Chicago Mayoral election, with a focus on the Democratic Primary between Jane Byrne and Harold Washington, and general with Edward Vrdolyak and Tom Hynes. Loose and anecdotal, it features footage from public appearances, civic events, protests, and rallies.
The footage opens to Harold Washington cutting and distributing a giant cake at Daley Plaza, handing a slice to radio reporter Bob Crawford. Photographer Paul Natkin can be seen shooting a campaign ad for campaign adviser David Axelrod (out of frame). The crowds can be heard rejoicing and Washington is seen smiling on stage. The following shot features Washington speaking with press. The camera pauses over the grand Picasso sculpture in the center of the plaza. The footage suddenly changes to portray reporter Harry Golden Jr. at the Harold Washington campaign offices.

Back in Daley Plaza, Washington is filmed posing for a photograph with a large group of people standing behind him. The subsequent series of images depict Jane Bryne making appearances at a variety of businesses and restaurants. Byrne is captured visiting a black church, Latino deli and Chicago's famous hot dog stand, Demon Dog. 

At the St. Patricks Day parade, a crowd of people excitedly embrace candidate Thomas Haynes. The footage then features a brief shot of Richard J. Daley on the street greeting Shriners, wearing a "1776" necktie. Harold Washington can be seen gallantly waving to crowds from his car in the parade.

The scene shifts to portray Haynes coming out of his campaign offices; Hayne's supporters can be seen enthusiastically greeting him. The camera focuses on a poster on the front of the building featuring a painting of a young boy and Richard J. Daley. It reads, ”Hey Mr. Mayor. They’ve all gone crazy down here”. 

The footage quickly cuts to a South Side Irish parade where a member of the crowd can be seen yelling “Keep this city white!”. The subsequent series of images show Edward Vrdolyak, apart of the parade, greeting and waving to the masses.

The scene switches to Thomas Haynes speaking with reporters. The following shot also depicts Ted Kennedy advocating for Harold Washington to the press outside his car. The following succession of shots depict Edward Vrdolyak making appearances at a Polka band performance, Writers' Guild strike outside CBS studios, as well as other political events.

Washington is depicted visiting the county jail; Vrdolyak complains about crime and Black support for Washington, saying Washington "doesn’t know what he’s doing about crime in this city.” The shot changes to quickly take in the Vrdolyak campaign offices and a brief shot of him at Wrigley Field.

After this, Harold Washington can be seen on the campaign trail waving at people on a bus and later is seen at a political rally embracing his partner Mary Ella Smith on stage. The film concludes with the Downtown St. Patrick's Day parade. Stamets asks Washington about "St. Daley." Washington jokes, "If you don't have clout, grab a shillelagh."
MPI Home Video
Main Credits
Stamets, Bill (is filmmaker)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Washington, Harold (is participant)
Mary Ella Smith (is participant)
Byrne, Jane (is participant)
Jay McMullen (is participant)
Vrdolyak, Edward (is participant)
Thomas Hynes (is participant)
Daley, Richard J. (is participant)
Ted Kennedy (is participant)
Richard Mell (is participant)
Harry Golden, Jr. (is participant)
Related Place
Chicago (represents)