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Advise & Consent (1962)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  6 June 1962 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,299 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 36 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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film plot centers on a terminally ill President trying to preserve his foreign policy agenda by appointing a Secretary of State he has confidence in. Technically, the new President can fire the Secretary of State and appoint whoever he likes. However, the Secretary of State is the senior member of the cabinet. The death of a President often requires the new President to provide a sense of continuity to alleviate anxiety in the public. That is why of the 8 Vice Presidents who have succeeded to the Presidency (7 by death, 1 by resignation), 6 of them have kept the sitting Secretary of State for some or all of their terms. See more »

Goofs

When Senator Brig Anderson (Don Murray) returns home after the black-tie party, he enters his bedroom and removes his tuxedo jacket. An undershirt is clearly visible under his dress shirt. He then goes into the bathroom and removes his tie, but having awakened his wife, comes back into the bedroom before taking off his shirt, at which point, he's no longer wearing an undershirt. 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

Referenced in The Contender (2000) 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

 
One of the great political films of all time
11 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An ill President wants his nominee for Secretary of State confirmed in "Advise and Consent," a 1962 film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alan Drury and directed by Otto Preminger. It was the first film in seven years for Gene Tierney and the last for Charles Laughton. Tierney couldn't have chosen a better comeback and Laughton a more fitting farewell.

It's up to the majority leader, Bob Munson (Walter Pidgeon) to get the President's (Franchot Tone) nominee for Secretary of State (Henry Fonda) confirmed, but it's not going to be easy. Senator Cooley from South Carolina (Laughton) believes that Robert Leffingwell once had Communist ties and doesn't want him confirmed, even if it means digging up marginal people (Burgess Meredith) who claim to have known Comrade Leffingwell. An ambitious, aggressive young senator (George Grizzard) loudly wants Leffingwell approved, and he will do anything to make it happen - even if it means blackmailing the chairman of the hearing, Brig Anderson (Don Murray). There is pressure on the President to withdraw Leffingwell, and he refuses; the President puts pressure on Anderson to get him confirmed, and, sticking to his own principles, Brig, despite a tremendous threat to his home and political position, refuses to reconvene the hearing. Meanwhile, if Leffingwell stays in and there's a tie, it will be up to the Vice President (Lew Ayres) as the President of the Senate, to break it.

This is a brilliantly done film that has you glued from the first moment to the last. It not only gives a vivid portrait of politics and how the Senate works but keeps the viewer in suspense for the entire movie. The acting is magnificent. Franchot Tone gives a sturdy performance as a President running out of time; Lew Ayres underplays and makes sympathetic the role of the compromise Vice President; Walter Pidgeon is elegant and authoritative as the majority leader; Henry Fonda gives a straightforward, honest portrayal of a man who wants to serve his country but has to go against some of his own beliefs in order to do it. There isn't a wrong note throughout, even down to a very young and pretty Betty White who has a tiny role as a Senator and Peter Lawford as a Jack Kennedy type. Inga Swenson is the insecure Mrs. Anderson and gives a heartbreaking performance as a loving wife who feels she has failed her husband in some fundamental way. Laughton is great, but he is given some very florid dialogue, and he rises to the occasion by hamming it up. It was an appropriate choice given the script. Gene Tierney, as a wealthy widow/hostess who sees Pidgeon on the side, looks beautiful and gives a charming performance.

The end of this movie is incredibly powerful, and the scene with the President, Vice President and Senate Majority leader Munson is one of my favorites for a special reason. In the book, the Vice President, who is terribly worried about the President's health, has an encounter with the President and then goes back to his office and expresses some emotion about the meeting. Though the scene isn't in the film, Lew Ayres obviously read the book and has the same emotional reaction, but unspoken, on the Destroyer. Unless you've read the book, you won't pick it up, but it's an even greater scene if you have.

IMDb members have posted that nothing has changed today. In politics, I'm sure that is true. In films, unfortunately, things have changed. A character-driven film rich in dialogue like "Advise and Consent" is hard to come by. See it and revel in the film-making past and shake your head at the timeliness of the story.


30 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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