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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 731 users  
Reviews: 48 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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Title: Gabriel Over the White House (1933)

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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)
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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 »
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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  »
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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

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 »

Quotes

Hon. Judson Hammond - The President of the United States: The American people have risen before and they will rise again. Gentlemen, remember, our party promises a return to prosperity.
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

 
Heavenly Intervention
18 September 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Gabriel Over The White House comes to the movie going public, courtesy of William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan Productions, at a very special time in history when there was grave worry as to whether America and the capitalist system would survive. What producer Hearst is telling us is how he feels that the Deity if he intervened would solve all our problems.

Walter Huston is our star/protagonist here, a newly elected president who is no Franklin D. Roosevelt, but rather more of a Warren Harding type. Catch Huston offering up the usual political pablum at his press conference in terms of what to do about the Depression. It's rather depressing. Later on at his cabinet meeting some issue about an appointment comes up and he just remarks that if you boys in the cabinet and party feel this way, who is he to question it.

But then our president who the Secret Service would NEVER let get behind the wheel of a car totals the White House limousine and goes into a coma from the concussion. It's at that point Huston gets a heavenly intervention into his nature and starts enacting policies, presumably that God and William Randolph Hearst would approve, not necessarily in that order.

Huston makes first an amiable nonentity and then a stern statesman in the White House. It's like he's playing two different parts and in fact that's precisely the point of the film.

Besides economic want, folks in 1932-33 were very much concerned about the rise of lawlessness, organized criminal gangs that grew out of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. A lot of what Huston does could be construed as worse than the disease in terms of civil liberties. Repealing Prohibition was something only a few wackos like Alfred E. Smith wanted and Smith was Hearst's mortal political enemy.

From the man who couldn't wait to get to war in Cuba in 1898, William Randolph Hearst had become a pacifist and an advocate for disarmament and he proves it by going farther than either the Washington or London conferences on that subject. Adolph Hitler was on the verge of becoming Germany's Chancellor at the time Gabriel Over The White House came out, someone like him wasn't factored into the equation for world peace.

All in the name of peace, prosperity, and the coming millenia and since it's all directed from heaven, we don't and aren't supposed to question it. The perfect world in the mind of William Randolph Hearst.

Gabriel Over The White House tells us a lot about America midst the Depresssion, our hopes, fears, and aspirations. And it offers the more authoritarian method of attaining those aspirations. It's an entertaining film, but it's more a psycho-political picture of the USA at that point in our history.


7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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