Too bad for presidential hopes of banker T.K. Blair; his party feels he has too little flair for savoir faire. But at a medicine show, the party bosses find Blair's double: huckster Doc ... See full summary »
Nellie Rimplegar has to tell her grown children that due to her bungled handling of their finances, the family has been wiped out by the Stock Market crash. Friend and family doctor, Alan ... See full summary »
While husband Tim is away during World War II, Anne Hilton copes with problems on the homefront. Taking in a lodger, Colonel Smollett, to help make ends meet and dealing with shortages and ... See full summary »
Andre and Colette Bertier are happily married. When Colette introduces her husband to her flirtatious best friend, Mitzi, he does his best to resist her advances. But she is persistent, and... See full summary »
Parrish McLean lives with his mother Ellen on Sala Post's tobacco plantation in the Connecticut River Valley. His mother winds up marrying Sala's rival Judd Raike, ruthless planter who ... See full summary »
Prudence travels to an isolated Texas town where she has inherited the local paper. She finds the place ruled over by the two men who wrested the area from the Indians twenty-five years ... See full summary »
A woman whose husband never came home from World War I finds herself in love with her doctor. She travels with him to Switzerland, and as they check into the hotel there, she is astounded to see her supposedly dead husband.
The adopted daughter of New-York-City gambler, Al Draper, elopes from quarantine (key plot word) with another voyager from Europe. Later she is found murdered in a hotel room. Draper is ... See full summary »
Rowland V. Lee
George M. Cohan,
A super-efficient secretary at a department store falls for and marries her boss, but finds out that taking care of him at home (and especially his spoiled-brat daughter) is a lot different than taking care of him at work.
Gregory La Cava
Brillant pianist Larry Addams allows his frustrated ambitions to ruin his life and commits suicide, leaving his wife, Lee, and two small children, Penny and Chase, under the stigma of ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
Too bad for presidential hopes of banker T.K. Blair; his party feels he has too little flair for savoir faire. But at a medicine show, the party bosses find Blair's double: huckster Doc Varney. Of course, they scheme to make Varney T.K.'s public spokesman; at first, he even fools Blair's girlfriend Felicia, providing a romantic complication. As election eve approaches, the conspirators face the problem of what to do with Varney...who has difficult decisions of his own to make. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
According to Richard Rodgers, George M. Cohan deeply resented having to work with Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart on the film. Cohan was bitter that the type of musical theatre that he had created was now out of fashion, and that it was being supplanted by the more literate and musically sophisticated shows of Rodgers and Hart, among others. During the filming Cohan would sarcastically refer to Rodgers and Hart as "Gilbert and Sullivan". See more »
Light weight but winning political satire even in its day, the big news in this well reviewed Rodgers and Hart not-quite-musical (there are just four main musical sequences - the best known song is "Give Her A Kiss") was George M. Cohan's first appearance in a talkie - he would make but one more in 1934 (GAMBLING), three years before Cohan returned to Broadway with Rodgers & Hart in their 1937 hit I'D RATHER BE RIGHT, playing a real president - FDR.
Playing the dual role here of a candidate and his more likable double, Cohan more than justified the hype, and ably assisted by the always wonderful Claudette Colbert as the candidate's girlfriend (shades of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA) and Jimmy Durante who almost steals the film as the nice Cohan's manager (catch Durante in MGM's 1934 STUDENT TOUR playing a crew coach named Merman in an in joke!), Cohan makes this a must-see in any year. In an election year like this one, we can only wish the finale were reality rather than a gentle satire of pandering to public perceptions.
The pleasant surprises don't stop with the leads however. Watch the singing portraits of past presidents in the opening for Alan Mowbray as George Washington and later, Sidney (Charlie Chan) Toler's appearance as a political boss - all smiles but as rooted in what "works" as any current campaign manager - is a joy to behold.
If you've seen Jimmy Cagney dancing to an Oscar as Cohan in the World War II YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (a decade after this effort), take a look at Cohan doing the original steps (in black-face, yet in an "on stage" number) and you'll wonder if Cagney didn't study this film specifically.
In the great legacy of film musicals, THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT is probably little more than a footnote, but it's a very enjoyable, important one.
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