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Gabriel Over the White House (1933)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Romance  |  31 March 1933 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 774 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 14 critic

A political hack becomes President during the height of the Depression and undergoes a metamorphosis into an incorruptible statesman after a near-fatal accident.

Director:

(as Gregory LaCava)

Writers:

(screen play), (additional dialogue), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Karen Morley ...
...
Arthur Byron ...
Jasper Brooks - Secretary of State
...
C. Henry Gordon ...
David Landau ...
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Dr. H.L. Eastman (as Samuel Hinds)
William Pawley ...
...
Claire Du Brey ...
Nurse (as Claire DuBrey)
Edit

Storyline

Newly inaugurated President Judson Hammond is content to live out the next four years exercising a hands-off approach and leaving the problems of Depression America to local authorities. But after a miraculous recovery from an auto accident, Hammond is ready to take on every social ill and neither Congress, gangsters nor the nations of the world will stop him. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 March 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El despertar de una nación  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (preview)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A scene for the movie depicting bullets fired at the President's car was deleted following the attempted assassination of President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt. See more »

Goofs

Through out the whole movie Walter Huston's hair is combed differently in one continuous scene after another. It's obvious many of the cuts back to him are from different takes. See more »

Quotes

Pendola 'Pendie' Molloy: I'm not a very religious person, Beek, but does it seem too fanciful to believe that God might've sent the angel Gabriel to do for Judd Hammond what He did for Daniel?
Hartley 'Beek' Beekman - Secretary to the President: Gabriel? I thought he was the messenger of Wrath.
Pendola 'Pendie' Molloy: Not always. To some he was the Angel of Revelations. A messenger sent from God to men.
Hartley 'Beek' Beekman - Secretary to the President: Huh... Gabriel over the White House.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.3 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

John Brown's Body Lies A-Mouldering in the Grave
(1859) (uncredited)
Music by William Steffe (1856)
Lyricst unknown
Sung a cappella by the army of the unemployed in protest
See more »

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User Reviews

Understand something about Wm R. Hearst
14 November 2004 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Fascinating and important historical document.

I want to briefly address the historical comments that this was "left wing" propaganda. This is a real misreading of the film and the historical context. This was an earnest, non-ironic celebration of proto-fascist ideals by Wm. Randolph Hearst, including not so veiled references to the "foreigners" who he felt were responsible for all ills in American Society. I am, by the way, a fairly consistent Republican, so I'm not writing on behalf of the left wing.

Let's not give such credit for "prescience" as to misread the film entirely out of its time, as a pre-emotive critique of FDR. Some modern viewers mis-interpret the film as "left wing" because, to modern eyes, it is so obviously "corny" and wrong-headed that they assume it is meant as ironic. Hearst was notoriously sympathetic to fascist ideas --and as this was pre WWII, the ideas of fascism were not yet fully discredited in the US, and enjoyed some widespread support given fairly desperate times and the intellectual movements of the day. This film was produced by Wm Randolph Hearst in 1932, before FDR was elected. It was held over for distribution by Louis B. Mayer (who did not sympathize with its fascistic views) till after the Hoover-FDR election, to avoid influencing the election.

The film does, of course, have relevance to FDR (and others) who would subvert the Constitution for expediency. However, to understand what the film maker meant, you have to view it as a pro-dictatorial document, by an individual who was not afraid to state those views, in the context of his time. Today, we have the luxury to see how obviously wrong those views were. But to miss the endorsement of proto-fascism in the movie is to forget the history of those who, in desperate times, with receptive elements of the population, were once willing to embrace a form of fascism in the USA.

Hearst's views were also, to some degree, responsible for an under-reporting of the ominous nature of Nazi Germany, as it is well documented that he instructed his news gathering organization to be sympathetic to that fledgling regime, and not to focus on abuses of Jews and others under the Nazis. This movie is a fascinating window into a mindset that was real, had an effect on history, and which found resonances in the ideas of Father Coughlin, Huey Long etc.

.


60 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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