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Magnificent Doll (1946)

 -  Drama | History  -  November 1946 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 151 users  
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Ginger Rogers is the daughter of boardinghouse owners in Washington, DC who falls in love with Aaron Burr and James Madison.

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Title: Magnificent Doll (1946)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Stephen McNally ...
John Todd (as Horace McNally)
Robert Barrat ...
Grandon Rhodes ...
Frances E. Williams ...
Amy (as Frances Williams)
Henri Letondal ...
Count D'Arignon
Joseph Forte ...
Senator Ainsworth (as Joe Forte)
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Storyline

Dolly Payne is adored by two leaders of the fledgling American government, James Madison and Aaron Burr. She plays each against the other, not only for romantic reasons, but also to influence the shaping of the young country. By manipulating Burr's affections, she helps Thomas Jefferson win the presidency, and eventually she becomes First Lady of the land herself. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They spoke her name in whispers

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Drama | History

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Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

November 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Borzage's Magnificent Doll  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The night before shooting was to start, a game of hide-and-seek was held during a party. Primula Niven (wife of David Niven) opened a door she thought led to a closet and fell down a set of stairs to her death. See more »

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User Reviews

Aaron will never get a fair shake
19 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Except for those Vice Presidents who ended up as President (14 of them)only one is remembered as a distinct personality: Aaron Burr. And it is for some questionable reasons. His ambitions were on the scale of Napoleon Bonaparte, aimed (supposedly) not only towards the U.S. but also Mexico, and against Spain (and supposedly willing to use French or British assistance). He managed to show that Thomas Jefferson, for all his brilliance as party leader and politician, could be momentarily thrown for a loop by a clever, unforeseen loophole. He helped destroy Alexander Hamilton's political career, and then ended Hamilton as well. And, despite facing political ruin, he managed to leave his political chief's political projects in ruins. To 90% of the American public, mention Burr and the word "traitor" or "unscrupulous" pops up.

There are those who deny this view of Burr. Jefferson and Hamilton were grown men, who played hard ball politics with each other and with each other's supporters. Burr was no different from them. Jefferson was willing, as John Adams' Vice President, to forget his old friendship with Adams and concentrate on derailing his chief's policies and aims (as Burr did towards Jefferson). Hamilton hit Burr pretty well in the New York Gubernatorial race of 1804, helping to defeat Burr in that election (and in the process so insulting Burr as to lead to Burr's challenge and their duel in Weehauken). As for the treason against the U.S., it is now questioned if Burr was really planning to overturn U.S. government control over the western states, or just jumping the gun on westward expansion (Burr died in 1836, and lived long enough to see the fall of the Alamo and the creation of the Texas Republic - he made some sharp and cutting comments that one age's treason was another age's patriotism, which seems well called for). But in any case, Hamilton had played around with similar expeditions in Latin America in the late 1790s. But he never went as far as Burr did, involving the ranking general of the U.S. Army as a co-conspirator. So Hamilton's actions are forgotten today but Burr's actions are not.

One day a creative script on Burr's career will be created, and a Scorsese director will handle it. Until then, the only film dealing with Burr's career (aside from a television version of "The Man Without a Country" made in the 1970s)is this odd little film that concentrates on the career of Dolly Payne Todd Madison, the wife of the "father of the Constitution", our 4th President James Madison. Ginger Rogers and Burgess Meredith play the Madisons (and give good performances), but the film is stolen by David Niven. Niven's darker side was rarely noticed in his climb to stardom, but when he played a figure with frailties (the Major in "Seperate Tables", or the scoundrelly heir in "Tonight's the Night") he actually gave his best performances. Here he played Burr as the ambitious politico who nearly stole the 1800 election from Tom Jefferson (but for Alex Hamilton's action to keep enough Federalists from supporting Burr), and as Hamilton's slayer turned into super traitor - who got acquitted in the treason trial of 1807 (the film does not show how poor the government's case against Burr really was). Unrepentent at the end, he manages to maintain our fascination, although the audience feels it was a blessing that he failed in the end. In reality, given his commitment to immigrants, abolitionism, and feminist rights (which neither Adams, Jefferson, nor Hamilton were fully committed to), one wonders if it would have been such a bad thing had he become President in 1800.


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