51 user 14 critic

Gabriel Over the White House (1933)

Passed | | Drama, Fantasy, Romance | 31 March 1933 (USA)
A political hack becomes President during the height of the Depression and undergoes a metamorphosis into an incorruptible statesman after a near-fatal accident.


(as Gregory LaCava)


(screen play), (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Jasper Brooks - Secretary of State
David Landau ...
Dr. H.L. Eastman (as Samuel Hinds)
William Pawley ...
Nurse (as Claire DuBrey)


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


The sensation of a nation!


Drama | Fantasy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 March 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El despertar de una nación  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (preview)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film's initial television presentation took place in Philadelphia Thursday 28 March 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6). Because of its age and obscurity and the dated political nature of its story, other major market telecasts eluded it at this time, but it's now in the Turner Classic Movies inventory and vintage film enthusiasts welcome its occasional airings on TCM. See more »


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 »


Jimmy Vetter: I got a speech.
Hon. Judson Hammond - The President of the United States: A speech? Let's hear it.
Jimmy Vetter: I love my uncle Judd because he's going to cure the Depression and make everybody rich.
See more »


Referenced in The Bookworm (1939) See more »


Semper Fidelis
(1888) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played during most of the opening presidential motorcade
See more »

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User Reviews

remarkable, strange film
1 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I basically checked out "Gabriel Over the White House" because of Walter Huston, an actor I have always considered one of the greats. He doesn't disappoint as the President of the United States in this bizarre fantasy, produced by William Randolph Hearst and promoting his ideas of fascism.

I gave this film a high mark (8) not because I loved it but because it is a fascinating film from a historical point of view. Newly-elected President Hammond (Huston) pays lip service to the needs of the depression-ridden people by uttering platitudes, and meanwhile, is content to do what the party tells him. Meanwhile, he brings his girlfriend on as his personal assistant. He pays no attention to the head of a group of unemployed men who plan to march on Washington, though it isn't made clear why his party isn't interested in doing anything to stop the depression. One day, while driving his car at breakneck speed (as if all Presidents are encouraged to do this), he crashes and slips into a coma. When he comes to, he hears a horn playing a passage from Brahms Symphony 1 in C Minor, Opus 68 and has a change of heart. This supposedly is the angel Gabriel checking in. After that, he becomes a dictator of sorts, usurping the system of checks and balances. He forms a WPA of sorts for the unemployed, has executions of gangsters, and forms the Washington covenant to reduce arms buildup from countries around the world. Supposedly there was an assassination attempt that takes place in the film that was cut after an attempt was made on Roosevelt's life.

Supposedly this film was shelved by a nervous Louis B. Mayer until after FDR was elected. It's surprising he released it at all. There is supposedly an alternate version that acknowledges the dangers of fascism. Whatever version you see, this is a film very much of its time as far as the political climate and the thinking of a powerful man like Hearst, and as such makes for remarkable viewing.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Tend to agree with the synopsis poster Romojo
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