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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
DC romance with dash of drama says much about politics in '52
Washington Story promises to be a lot grittier than it ends up being, but this non-Red-scare movie nonetheless says a lot about America during the height of the Red scare (1952, actually). Van Johnson plays a hard-working, honest congressman who runs foul of a venomous columnist. The columnist sets an idealistic young reporter (Patricia Neal) on him to dig up, or manufacture, dirt. At first wary, the two grow -- naturally -- close, only to draw apart from unfounded suspicions. The appeal of Johnson and Neal make this a passable diversion, and there's some nice observation of the Georgetown cocktail-party circuit and of close friendships between ideologically incompatible colleagues, but the underlying message is never far from the surface: It's unpatriotic to talk against the "Government," and the press is nothing but a pack of subversive malcontents.
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