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W.S. Van Dyke
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>
I remember having seen this movie when I was very young, and it impressed me then as propaganda for President Roosevelt's New Deal. Now I know better, and have read something about its real history. William Randolph Hearst had become an FDR fan, and had this picture made by his Cosmopolitan productions, affiliated with MGM, in order to express what he hoped the new President would do. MGM's boss, Louis B. Mayer, a staunch Republican, shelved the picture until after the Roosevelt inauguration. Now we can see that what Hearst expected FDR to do by dictatorial means, the President achieved as a real believer in Democracy. The picture is intelligent; Walter Huston's performance, brilliant, as well as the supporting work by Karen Morley and Franchot Tone (was this his movie debut?). The direction by Gregory LaCava, exceptional, as he managed to make the audience believe in such far-fetched and unbelievable sequences as the "war" against racketeers with courts martial included, but he could not avoid the allusions to the Archangel Gabriel sounding ridiculous. Anyhow this a curious motion picture, and probably the most politically inclined ever made by a major Hollywood studio. But the fascistic leanings of Hearst could not be hidden, not even by a producer as liberal in politics as Walter Wanger.
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