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Tennessee Johnson (1942)

Passed  -  Biography | Drama  -  December 1942 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 325 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 2 critic

The bio of Andrew Johnson from his first arrival in Tennessee to his rise to the Presidency of the United States.

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Title: Tennessee Johnson (1942)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Eliza McCardle Johnson
Marjorie Main ...
Mrs. Maude Fisher
...
Blackstone McDaniel
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Coke
Grant Withers ...
Mordecai Milligan
Alec Craig ...
Sam Andrews
Charles Dingle ...
Senator Jim Waters
Carl Benton Reid ...
Congressman Hargrove
Russell Hicks ...
Lincoln's Emissary
...
Sheriff Cass (as Noah Beery Sr.)
Robert Warwick ...
Major Crooks
Montagu Love ...
Chief Justice Chase
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Mr. Secretary
Edit

Storyline

The bio of Andrew Johnson from his first arrival in Tennessee to his rise to the Presidency of the United States.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Campeão da Liberdade  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There was a protest from some sectors that the film distorted the life of Thaddeus Stevens (who initiated the impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson). Additional filming occurred in October 1942, but it is not known if it was because of these protests. One line in the script (Stevens referring to Lincoln as "the old ape") was eliminated. Still, the film treats Johnson much more favorably than it does Stevens. See more »

Goofs

Several scenes include the use of 48-star flags, not introduced until 1912. See more »

Quotes

Thaddeus Stevens: You're a great stickler for the Constitution, aren't you?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening outline includes a disclaimer about historical facts being changed for entertainment purposes. See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Cry of Freedom
(1862)
Written by George Frederick Root
In the score during the foreword, reprised in the score for the last scene
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Film - Mixed reality and history
12 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I doubt if a film made in 2004 or after about Andrew Johnson would be as kind as this 1943 film. Johnson did support the North in the Civil War (he was the only Southern Senator to remain in the U.S. Government during the war, and would be appointed Governor of that portion of Tennessee from 1863

  • 64). Lincoln, in order to have a strong National ticket in her 1864


election chose Johnson (a Democrat)as his running mate. So Johnson became Vice President. And then John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln, and Johnson became President.

Johnson was illiterate, until his wife taught him to read and write. He educated himself, and rose in the legal and political world of Tennessee (and then the nation). But he was a piece of "po' white trash", and remained so with all it's cultural baggage. He supported the North because he (rightly) distrusted the Southern plantation aristocracy (epitomized by Jefferson Davis). However - he hated slaves and free Black people. Hence his willingness to be soft on the South. Lincoln would have been soft too, but Lincoln had great gifts at managing his adversaries and probably could have arranged a compromise. Johnson was pig-headed. He antagonized the Radical Republicans controlling Congress. They waited for him to make a mistake, and he did (technically he violated the Tenure of Office Act, by firing Secretary of War Stanton without getting Congressional permission - this act was declared unconstitutional in the 1880s). Then followed his impeachment and the saving of his skin by seven Republican Senators who voted not to remove him. And those men all lost their Senatorial seats.

In 1943 Johnson was considered a hero, for saving the Executive Branch from becoming a rubber stamp for Congress. Actually, there was nothing to show that some Radical Republican President could not have restored power to the Executive Branch if Johnson had been removed. He gets high grades for his grit and courage, but his pig-headed stupidity and racism sink his historical rating.

Still Van Heflin, Lionel Barrymore, and the other actors (like Charles Dingle) make the film interesting and enjoyable enough. Good film making but mixed history. Two final points: Edmond Ross was in good health when he voted, but James W. Grimes of Iowa also voted for acquittal, and he had a paralytic stroke a few weeks earlier (he died within a year). Second: Andrew Johnson is the second Vice President of the name Johnson (and Lyndon Johnson the third Veep). The first was Martin Van Buren's Vice President, Richard Mentor Johnson of Kentucky, whose career as a politician might make a diverting comedy.


18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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