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State of the Union (1948)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  30 April 1948 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,154 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 28 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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Grant Matthews
...
Mary Matthews (as Katherine Hepburn)
...
'Spike' McManus
...
Kay Thorndyke
...
Jim Conover (as Adolph Menjou)
Lewis Stone ...
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
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's State of the Union  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,600,000 (estimated)
 »

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

When the film was made and released, President Harry Truman had not made his miraculous political comeback and was considered a sure loser in the 1948 Presidential election by nearly everyone, which is why both the Republican Presidential nomination is considered so valuable in the movie, and why Van Johnson's character is amused when a young woman tells him that she thinks Truman will be elected President in his own right in November. See more »

Goofs

Adolphe Menjou's name is also misspelled, but only in the opening credits, where he is credited as 'Adolph'. In the closing credits, however, his named is spelled correctly. See more »

Quotes

Kay Thorndyke: Kay Thorndyke: "My father always said that life was war, so never count the casualties !"
See more »

Crazy Credits

Katharine Hepburn's name is misspelled in the opening credits (as Katherine Hepburn). See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Spencer Tracey is Grant Matthews, a famous aircraft tycoon courted by the Republican Party to become their candidate for President of the United States.
1 May 1999 | by (Arlington, VA) – See all my reviews



`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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