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Rowland V. Lee
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Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
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The political career of Woodrow Wilson is chronicled, beginning with his decision to leave his post at Princeton to run for Governor of New Jersey, and his subsequent ascent to the Presidency of the United States. During his terms in office, Wilson must deal with the death of his first wife, the onslaught of German hostilities leading to American involvement in the Great War, and his own country's reticence to join the League of Nations. Written by
Shannon Patrick Sullivan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Big Political Spectacle: depressing but ultimately optimistic
When watching this film one first has to take into account the fact that it was made in 1944, the heyday of patriotic Hollywood propaganda. Hollywood had joined the war just like the rest of America, and its job was to keep up moral, foster hope for a better future, and keep people doing their jobs in the war machine with enthusiasm.
If you can take all that with a grain of salt, then you will probably like Wilson, because the goofy and embarrassingly obvious moments of propaganda (and Wilson idolatry) are the movie's only major flaw.
What this movie has going for it is Henry King's direction, many very impressive big crowd scenes and great sets (where you can actually see the ceilings), Woodrow Wilsons somewhat tragic life story, and Alexander Knox who plays Wilson. Knox gives very endearing, powerful, and emotionally resonant performance. He makes Wilson a real character that comes through even the thick layers of propaganda. The rest of the cast is good as well (especially the women in his life), but it is Knox and King that carry the movie.
See it for Wilson's excruciatingly intense final political speech. It's forceful.
7 out of 10 (for great spectacle and emotional effectiveness).
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