A movie that cuts closer to the soul of U.S. politics than most of us would like to admit, Robert Rossen's 1949 All the King's Men (TCM at 4 p.m.) follows the tempestuous career of Louisiana Gov. Will Stark (Broderick Crawford), who exploits his populist roots into a career that makes him just short of royalty. As much Shakespearean tragedy as cautionary tale, the Best Picture Oscar winner features an extraordinary and Oscar-winning star turn from Crawford, whose limited acting range (he was great at bluster, but not all that much else) made for a perfect fit. Also winning an Oscar for supporting actress was newcomer Mercedes McCambridge, as Stark's assistant - and a little bit more. McCambridge, who went on to a career encompassing more than half a century and 50 film and television roles, may be better remembered today as the demonic voice of angelic Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
Also on the tube today: Oscar winners Anne Bancroft (Best Actress) and Patty Duke (Best Supporting Actress) in Arthur Penn's 1962 The Miracle Worker (TCM at 6 p.m.), the true story of young blind and deaf Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, the stubborn teacher who refused to give up on her; and John Lee Hancock's 2004 remake of The Alamo (8 p.m., AMC), something of a confused mess of a film, but with a wonderful star turn from Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett.