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 <email@example.com>
A newspaper, meant to be for the current date in the movie, is shown with the date Monday, April 5, 1948. Later, another newspaper, also meant to be for what is now the current date, is shown, and the date is Friday, March 26, 1948. See more »
You politicians have stayed professionals only because the voters have remained amateurs.
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Photographer George Folsey's name is misspelled in the opening credits (as George Falsey). See more »
Spencer Tracey is Grant Matthews, a famous aircraft tycoon courted by the Republican Party to become their candidate for President of the United States.
`Is there any difference between Democrats and Republicans?' `The difference is that they're in and we're out.' -- A line from State of the Union, one of only a handful of political films to use direct partisan language.
Based on a 1945 play by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, State of the Union marked Frank Capra's return to the political genera. This film is also the third of nine pictures featuring Spencer Tracey and Katharine Hepburn. In this outing, Tracey plays Grant Matthews, a famous aircraft tycoon courted by the Republican Party to become their candidate for President of the United States. The film's title, in addition to referring to the country, is also a metaphor for Matthews' relationship with his wife, Mary (Hepburn). The two are having marital problems sparked by Matthews' affair with a newspaper heir Kay Thorndyke (played by a 22-year-old Angela Lansbury convincingly portraying a woman in her forties).
Once the campaign is underway, the classic theme of a good man sacrificing his ideals in order to win begins to surface. Matthews' speeches are reworked as to not offend any big political establishments (e.g. big business, labor, agriculture, etc.), and soon he begins to loose his own voice along with his identity. Finally, in the film's climax, Matthews is forced to choose between a certain nomination for the presidency or a wife who represents his true character.
Incidentally, for a movie centered on a republican character, State of the Union does not focus on a conventional conservative theme, nor does it only target liberals. The film ribs big business, `the American Dream is not about making money,' in addition to labor. And even though Harry S Truman is the subject of several quips, he was said to have really enjoyed the film, often playing it on his presidential yacht.
At the box office, State of the Union performed better in smaller outlets than large markets. It premiered at New York's Radio City Music Hall to a opening week of $137,000, `this is a bit under hopes, especially in view of intensive advance campaign and strong reviews,' reported Varitey. In Los Angeles, the film opened at No. 1 with $52,000 but `not a smash.' Though in markets such as Minneapolis, Kansas City and Seattle, the film pulled big numbers. Overall the film was a success, but it did not match the box office bounty of Capra's earlier films including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or the other Tracey/Hepburn parings for that matter (e.g. Adam's Rib, Pat & Mike, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner).
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