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Middle-aged, small-town widow Hattie Burns is angered when a friend's daughter is inadvertently killed by s stray bullet in a gangland shootout at a local speakeasy. When Hattie confronts the mayor, a political hack running for re-election, at a campaign event about closing the illegal operations down, he brushes her off as only a woman. Other women at the rally draft her as a rival candidate with best-friend Ivy as campaign manager and female voters go on a "Lysistrata"-like parlor, bedroom, and bath strike in order to insure Hattie's election. Unfortunately, Hattie does not know that her daughter Myrtle's boyfriend, a reformed but wounded hoodlum, is hiding out in her attic. Written by
"This story is dedicated to women," according to the introduction, "who have been fighting for their rights ever since Adam and Eve started the loose-leaf system." When "Politics" was filmed, the Nineteenth Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was only a decade old. And, the film deals with the wielding of political power by women as a voting group. Advocating prohibition, and shutting down speakeasies, was a main concern for women at the time.
Good-natured Marie Dressler (as Hattie Burns) becomes politically active, after a young woman is shot and killed coming out of a speakeasy. She wants the liquor-selling joints closed; and, is drafted into a Mayoral run, after delivering a powerful speech at a women's rally. Ms. Dressler is supported by her tenants, best friend Polly Moran (as Ivy Higgins) and her stuttering husband Roscoe Ates (as Peter Higgins). Dressler's run for Mayor of Lake City draws opposition from men in town; so, Dressler orders the women to go on strike, denying them, "everything" in the "parlor, bedroom, and bath."
The film sounds much better than it turned out. The humor, frankly, isn't too good; and, it features some unfunny and moderately offensive situations ("You look like Madame Queen" refers to an Amos and Andy character). And, the mixing of shootings and slapstick doesn't mix well, this time. Producers might have considered making the film more dramatic, focusing exclusively on Dressler and the characters played by William Bakewell (as Benny Emerson) and Karen Morley (as Myrtle Burns).
**** Politics (7/25/31) Charles Reisner ~ Marie Dressler, Polly Moran, Roscoe Ates
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