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First Lady (1937)

Approved  |   |  Comedy  |  4 December 1937 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 257 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 2 critic

As presidential election time approaches in Washington it is the women behind the scenes who seem to be making the decisions.

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(screen play), (play), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lucy Chase Wayne
Preston Foster ...
Stephen Wayne
...
Emmy Page
...
Carter Hibbard
Verree Teasdale ...
Irene Hibbard
...
Gordon Keane
Marjorie Rambeau ...
Belle Hardwick
Marjorie Gateson ...
Sophy Prescott
...
Mrs. Lavinia Mae Creevey
Henry O'Neill ...
George Mason
...
Ellsworth T. Banning
Eric Stanley ...
Tom Hardwicke
Lucile Gleason ...
Mrs. Ives (as Lucille Gleason)
Sara Haden ...
Mrs. Mason
...
Charles
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Storyline

As presidential election time approaches in Washington it is the women behind the scenes who seem to be making the decisions.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 December 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Intrigas da Alta Roda  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First Lady (1935). Comedy. Written by Katharine Dayton and George S. Kaufman. Directed by George S. Kaufman. Music Box Theatre: 26 Nov 1935- Jun 1936 (closing date unknown/246 performances). Cast: Jane Cowl (as "Lucy Chase Wayne"), Florenz Ames, Don Beddoe (as "Jason Fleming"), Leslie Bingham, Isis Brinn, Helen Brooks, Jessie Busley, Lily Cahill, Armand Cortes (as "Senor Ortega"), Frank Dae (as "George Mason"), Thomas Findlay, Ruth Hovey, Bradford Hunt, Naoe Kondo, Charles La Rue, Judson Laire, Donald McKenzie, Lillian Norton, Daniel Ocko, George Parsons, Diantha Pattison (as "Sophy"), Susan Powers, Stanley Ridges (as "Stephen Wayne"), Margherita Sargent, James Seeley, John M. Troughton, Rita Vale (as "Ann Forrester"), Regina Wallace, Ethel Wilson, Hon. Wu, Oswald Yorke (as "Cater Hibbard"). Produced by Sam Harris. Note: FIlmed by Warner Brothers in 1937 as a Kay Francis vehicle. See more »

Soundtracks

Fifty-Second Street
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Saul Chaplin
Played when Irene asks if she can do something about the fish
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cocktails For The Nation
25 September 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Kay Francis stars in a delightful adaptation of the George S. Kaufman- Katharine Dayton play First Lady which enjoyed a nice run on Broadway in the 1934-1935 season and starred Jane Cowl and Stanley Ridges in the parts played here by Francis and Preston Foster.

Back in these days when primaries were only confined to a very few states and deals were made in those proverbial smoke filled rooms, First Lady was far more relevant in the national scene of those years than now. Kay Francis is the wife of Secretary of State Preston Foster and she'd like to see her husband as President. Her family has been in the White House before, her grandfather was president at one time. It's what's given her the status of Washington hostess and behind the scenes maker of policy and men.

Kaufman was very clever indeed in choosing Kay's character name of Kate Chase Wayne. Back in the 19th century one Kate Chase Sprague was the daughter of Salmon P. Chase, Governor and Senator from Ohio and Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury. Chase was a widower and his daughter before and after she married William Sprague, a Senator from Rhode Island was a popular Washington hostess and behind the scenes back room player. She strove mightily to make her father president, he had to settle for being Chief Justice however to cap his career off.

This 20th century Kate Chase has an ongoing rivalry with another Washington hostess in Verree Teasdale. Teasdale is the trophy wife of a pompous old water buffalo of a Supreme Court Justice in Walter Connolly, but a promising young Senator in Victor Jory has caught her eye as well as the eye of Anita Louise, Francis's niece. Teasdale's thinking that she'd like to be First Lady even unofficially and she's pushing Keith.

Francis gets right back and starts a rumor that Connolly just might make a good presidential candidate and she's hoisted on her own petard for that one. The boom for the pompous old galoot actually takes off. Kay's got to do some scrambling for that one.

Of course she saves the day, but it's through the use of another old 19th century scandal that did almost sink a presidential candidacy and is more successful here. You have to see First Lady to find out what Kay did.

Francis and Teasdale are a good set of foes the like of which weren't seen until Joan Collins and Linda Evans came on prime time TV in Dynasty. My favorite though is Connolly, a guy no one thought of as president until he gets the bug. In fact this seems to be the germ of the idea for the famous George S. Kaufman film, The Senator Was Indiscreet with William Powell playing exactly the kind of character Connolly plays in the next decade.

You think Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain ever spar on the Washington, DC cocktail party circuit like this?


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