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Advise & Consent (1962)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,180 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 35 critic

Senate investigation into the President's newly nominated Secretary of State, gives light to a secret from the past, which may not only ruin the candidate, but the President's character as well.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Advise & Consent (1962)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
The President
...
The Vice President
...
Robert Leffingwell
...
Senate Majority Leader
...
Senator Seabright Cooley
Don Murray ...
Senator Brigham Anderson
...
Senator Lafe Smith
...
...
Herbert Gelman
Eddie Hodges ...
Johnny Leffingwell
...
Senator Stanley Danta
George Grizzard ...
...
Ellen Anderson
Paul McGrath ...
Hardiman Fletcher
...
Senate Minority Leader
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Storyline

Robert Leffingwell is the president's candidate for Secretary of State. Prior to his approval, he must first go through a Senate investigation to determine if he's qualified. Leading the Senate committee is idealistic Senator Brig Anderson, who soon finds himself unprepared for the political dirt that's revealed, including Leffingwell's past affiliations with a Communist organization. When Leffingwell testifies about his political leanings, he proves his innocence. Later, however, Anderson learns that he lied under oath and even asks the president to withdraw Leffingwell for consideration, especially after the young senator begins receiving blackmail threats about a skeleton in his own closet. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Are the men and women of Washington really like this?

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 June 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sturm über Washington  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Allen Drury was writing the novel "Advise and Consent", John F. Kennedy, upon whom the character Senator Lafe Smith was based, was a young Senator with ambitions to be President. When the movie came out Kennedy was President, and Lafe Smith was played by Peter Lawford who was, at that time, married to Kennedy's sister Patricia. See more »

Goofs

Certain errors are made in the way senators are usually called upon or addressed in the Senate chamber. In the film, senators are almost always referred to as "The senior (or junior) senator from" a state, but in fact the terms senior or junior are seldom used in recognizing or referring to a senator on the floor or in committee. Also, when Senator Lafe Smith is called on during the climactic roll call and at first doesn't answer, the clerk repeats his name, at which point he responds "No". But in actual Senate practice a senator's name is not called a second time until after the initial roll call has been completed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[a boy is selling newspapers outside the U.S. Capitol, with the headline "Leffingwell Picked for Secretary of State"]
Paperboy: [to a customer] Thank you.
Stanley Danta: Morning, son.
Paperboy: [taking change from Danta] Good morning, senator... thank you.
[Danta gets into a taxicab]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Vito (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Song from Advise and Consent
Music by Jerry Fielding
Lyrics by Ned Washington
Sung Frank Sinatra - voice on juke box
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
For The Good of the Country: The Political Shocker of 1962
3 February 2008 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

As a Congressional correspondent for the New York Times during the 1950s, author Allen Drury had ample opportunity to witness Washington politicians in their natural habit---and drew upon numerous factual sources, including the controversial Alger Hiss case and the scandalous suicide of Senator Lester Hunt, to create the story of a controversial nominee for Secretary of State. The novel was not only a best seller, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

It was also a book that Hollywood could not film under the film industry's notorious Production Code. As it happened, the book fell into the hands of director Otto Preminger, long-time foe of Hollywood's rules for self-censorship. He not only made the film, he flagrantly broke the code; as such, ADVISE AND CONSENT presents our nation's leaders embroiled in a blackmail plot, finds actress Gene Tierney using the word 'bitch,' and became the first Hollywood film to show a gay bar. It was shocking stuff for 1962.

The story is extremely convoluted. An aging and extremely ill President makes a highly controversial nomination for Secretary of State---which is opposed by a member of his own party, who bears the nominee a personal grudge and who attempts to derail the nomination by accusing the nominee of former membership in the Communist Party. This in turn touches off a vicious battle between those in the party who support the nominee and those who don't, a battle that will ultimately result in the suicide of the only character who has the integrity we would like to see in our political leaders.

The cast is indeed remarkable and, from Lew Ayres to Betty White, plays with considerable conviction and tremendous restraint. Henry Fonda is often cited as the star of the film, but in truth he appears in the small but pivotal role of Robert Leffingwell, nominee for Secretary of State. Screen time is divided between Walter Pigeon as the Majority Leader, Charles Laughton as the senator who opposes the nomination, and Don Murray, an idealist who finds himself chairing the nomination committee. All three play extremely well, but it is really Laughton---in his final screen role---who walks off with the film as the devious and openly vicious Senator from South Carolina. The trio is ably supported by a dream cast that includes Franchot Tone as the President, Lew Ayres as the Vice President, George Grizzard as a growling ideologue, Gene Tierney as a society hostess---and yes, Betty White, who offers a brief turn as the Senator from Kansas.

It has become fashionable to dismiss Otto Preminger films of the 1950s and 1960s as ponderous, all-star, and pseudo-intellectual trash, and indeed it is difficult to find much positive to say about films like EXODUS and HURRY SUNDOWN these days. But Preminger is in many ways under-rated; his films have not always dated well in terms of subject, but they hold up extremely well in the way in which they are put together, with ADVISE AND CONSENT a case in point---and it is worth pointing out that accusations of leftism, adultery, and homosexuality are still enough to prompt everything from impeachment to congressional hearings to resignations. Nor has the process of the political dance itself changed greatly between then and now.

The great flaw of the film is its conclusion, which seems facile to the point of being hokey---but this is also the great flaw of the novel, which ends in much the same way--and at times ADVISE AND CONSENT seems more than a little dry. All the same, it remains a movie worth watching, particularly notable for its performances, fluid camera work, and meticulous recreation of party politics. The DVD offers a near-pristine widescreen transfer with good sound quality and an interesting, if occasionally too academic, commentary by film historian Drew Casper. Recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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