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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
In the cabinet meeting after Hammond's accident, Hammond is holding a document in the wide shot, has both hands down on the table in the medium shot, and is again holding the document in the cut back to the wide shot. See more »
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.
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