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State of the Union (1948)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  30 April 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,373 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 27 critic

An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Matthews (as Katherine Hepburn)
'Spike' McManus
Kay Thorndyke
Jim Conover (as Adolph Menjou)
Sam Thorndyke
Howard Smith ...
Sam I. Parrish
Charles Dingle ...
Bill Nolard Hardy
Maidel Turner ...
Lulubelle Alexander
Raymond Walburn ...
Judge Alexander
Art Baker ...
Leith - Radio Announcer
Pierre Watkin ...
Senator Lauterback
Florence Auer ...
Grace Orval Draper
Irving Bacon ...
Buck Swenson


Kay Thordyke loves Grant Matthews and helps him become Republican nominee for President. The party machine begins to worry as Grant begins to speak for himself. At an important dinner his wife Mary condemns corrupt politicians and Grant learns to speak out even more boldly.. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How's the State of the Union? It's GREAT!


Comedy | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 April 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's State of the Union  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There was tension on the set between the strongly conservative Adolphe Menjou and liberal thinking Katharine Hepburn, who had recently made a public speech against America's anticommunist hysteria and was facing a backlash as a result. See more »


During the airliner loop scene Katharine Hepburn is seen rotating in a complete circle, however, items on the table, her hair, or the item she's knitting never move. It is obvious the movie frames were rotated in a circle. See more »


Mary Matthews: It's a small request, but I'd give anything for a good smack on the south end.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The cast names which are misspelled in the opening credits are spelled correctly in the closing credits. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Spencer Tracy (1961) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Politics as usual
23 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It never ceases to amaze me how one can see a film about politics made in the '30s, '40s, '50s - doesn't matter when it was made, it always seems like it was made yesterday. "State of the Union," a 1941 Frank Capra film, is another political film that comes off as very fresh. A plain speaking, likable man, Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy) is convinced to run for President by the publisher of a newspaper, Kay Thorndyke (Angela Lansbury) who is also his mistress, and before he knows it, his words and intentions are no longer his own. Because he wants to win, he compromises and lies down with the dogs. When he stands up, he's got fleas.

Katharine Hepburn costars as Grant's wife Mary in a role intended for Claudette Colbert, and she's excellent. She got the part by sheer happenstance - she was with Tracy when Capra called to say that Colbert was out. Colbert wanted to be filmed from the left only and didn't want to work after 5. Because the studio wanted the film out before the actual 1948 Presidential election, there wasn't the time or budget to accommodate her.

All the performances in this film are marvelous. Van Johnson is very funny and charming as a newspaperman who becomes Grant's campaign manager. Adolphe Menjou is perfect as Kaye's mouthpiece who wants to go after the money people and court big business and the union heads. Lansbury is fantastic as the ambitious, cutthroat Kaye, who took over the paper from her father and knows how to use and abuse power.

By today's standards, "State of the Union" is probably too talky - Capra often has big monologues in his films, but they're always delivered powerfully. Here is no exception. A rousing film about the breakdown of idealism before political realities.

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