Nobody exemplified the old-style machine politics of the Richard J. Daley era better than Alderman Vito Marzullo, who ruled the West Side 25th Ward virtually unchallenged from 1953 to 1985. This 60-minute documentary classic produced in 1978 reveals how the business of Chicago politics was conducted in that era, with an inside view of the legendary alderman fielding requests for jobs and street cleaning in his ward, doing tit-for-tat deals with his fellow aldermen on the floor of the City Council, and revealing his personal life in his modest home with his wife of 65 years, Letizia.
DVD special features include the full interview with Chicago Alderman Leon Despres (1908-2009), “Marzullo’s antithesis,” who explains his view on the inner workings of Chicago machine politics. Also included is rare footage of a Chicago City Council meeting from 1978. Marzullo wears a wireless microphone and unknowingly records the behind the scenes deals that are the real purpose of the meeting. It’s a rare insider’s look at the way things are done in Chicago politics.