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Edwin L. Marin
Van Johnson's character is a congressman. Reporter Alice Kingsly arrives in Washington D.C. determined to uncover a tabloid-worthy scandal, and chooses Representative Joseph "No Comment Joe, the human clam" Gresham as her target. However, problems arise when the senator's wholesome image looks to be true and Alice becomes torn between her desire for a scandalous story and her growing attraction to Gresham. Written by
The movie "Washington Story" is about a straight as an arrow US Congressman Joseph T. Gresham, Van Johnson, who's career as a United States lawmaker is seriously jeopardized when he's accused of having been paid off by a big time ship builder and D.C lobbyist Philip Emery, Sidney Blackman,to vote for this bill that he's been pushing.
At first Congressman Gresham is against the bill despite his voting base depending on it since it would have a major effect on the economy of his congressional districts ship building industry. This "Ship Dispersel Bill" would have all the ship building in Congressman Gresham district directed inland and thus take away thousands of jobs from his congressional district that are dependent on that industry.
Gresham at the time is being followed around by news reporter Alice Kingley, Patricia Neal, who's doing a story on him for her newspaper. The truth is that Alice is really working for top D.C columnist and political muckraker Gilbert Nunnally ,Philip Ober, who want's her to do a hit piece on the congressman and destroy his career for what he's got going against him; a lawsuit for defamation of character on the part of Nunnally.
We, as well as Alice, later learn that Congressman Gresham's change of heart in his vote for the bill had nothing to do with him getting paid off by Emery like Nunnally wanted the public to believe. It's his concern for the national security of the United States even if that vote cost him his seat in the US Congress. There's also an important side story that really shows what a great person, as well as American, Congressman Gresham is with his selfless action to get Peter Kralik ,Reinhold Schunzel, a man who lived in the USA for 28 years and is now in danger of being deported back to his native country behind the Iron Curtain as well as deprived his American citizenship.
In the end Alice sees what a heel her boss Nunnally really is and quits working for him as a leg-women in getting the so-called dirt on Gresham and falls in love with the congressman where they then live happily ever after in D.C and his home back in Newchtester Ma.
I was fascinated by the comparison between the person that Van Johnson played in the film Congressman Joeseph T. Gresham and the late and tragic President of the United States John F. Kennedy. Even though at the time that the movie "Washington Story" was made, in early 1952, JFK was a relatively unknown congressman from the state of Massachusetts.
Both Congressman Greshman in the movie and Congressman Kennedy in real life were both democrats representing a congressional district in Massachustts and were elected right after WWII, 1946, and served in the US Navy where they were decorated for bravery in that conflict.
Even more fantastic is that Congressman Greshman met fell in love with and, obviously after the movie was over, married a woman who worked for a newspaper the pretty news reporter Alice Kingsley. At the time that the film "Washington Story" was being filmed John F. Kennedy in fact did meet and later married Miss. Jacqueline Bouvier, the future Mrs. Jackie Kenndey, who also worked for a newspaper at the time as a news photographer! Speaking of art imitating life!
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