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Advise & Consent (1962)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  6 June 1962 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,263 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 37 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
Edit

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

Charles Laughton's last film.He died of cancer 6 months after the movie was released. See more »

Goofs

Herbert Gelmen (Burgess Meredith) testifies that he lived at 2714 Carpenter Street while attending the University of Chicago. In actuality, that address is actually the address of St Mary of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, and neither a residence nor a fire station. 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 The Celluloid Closet (1995) 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

 
A stately, dry, involving film--with some edgy social issues for the day
19 May 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Advise and Consent (1962)

A moving look at a fictional moment in American politics. We see the dirty deals behind the scenes, but also that dignity and wisdom is preserved by some of the men (and one woman, shown). And we see the power of the system, the value of begrudging respect for those with opposite views, and plain old simplicity of being on the Senate floor and making points, orally, in front of a bunch of others, some of them actually listening.

Reminds me of my classrooms, and that brings government down to a level of believability. That's the secret to the movie, overall, it's ability to make the people real, including a host of really great actors like Charles Laughton and Walter Pidgeon, and of course Henry Fonda, who has a smaller role. Franchot Tone makes a believable ailing president, and it's great to see Gene Tierney in 1962, perfectly cast as a cool, smiley Senator's wife.

Otto Preminger is one of those revered directors who was always tweaking the moral edges of Hollywood, and therefore of America, and the spectacular thread that rises as the movie goes along, of a homosexual subculture existing at all in 1962, and arising from the activity of soldiers, and penetrating the Senate directly, was weirdly controversial stuff. Of course, it's almost ridiculous now, but it wasn't then, and to hear the central senator refer to another senator's gay military experience as a "tired old sin" is hard stuff for those of use who have grown up thinking "each to their own," or even "don't ask don't tell."

Preminger also irked a few anti-Communists by using a couple of left-wing actors, including Burgess Meredith, who has a small but memorable role. And the whole notion of a potential Secretary of State once having been superficially involved in a "Communist cell block" is interesting here partly because it shows how silly accusations can be, attacking things you do when you're twenty and have fully rejected or outgrown. Fonda is that figure of utter respectability for the good reason that he represents utter morality and patriotism, without become a cardboard flag-waver.

Though released to a public well into the Kennedy era, it feels like an Eisenhower world, with a couple younger senators easily looking like the Kennedy type, but still not President. The belligerent Old South conservative is, tellingly, a Democrat, back in the days when the South was pretty much conservative democratic. There are no parties mentioned, actually, but the leading voices seem to be liberal in their foreign policy, more like the Kennedy tone (or from the 50s, the tone of Adlai Stevenson, who lost the nomination bid to Kennedy in 1960). The book that led to the movie, by Allen Drury, was finished in 1959, and Drury was a bit of a right-winger, critical of the media he was part of, and openly anti-Communist. The events in the story (book and movie both) take one notable liberty: the Senator with a "homosexual scandal" in his past was Lester Hunt of Wyoming, whose son was a homosexual. That was enough to make the father a blackmail target, leading to Hunt's suicide.

That none of this matters is tribute to the movie, which really captures 1950s style American politics in a bright, Hollywood way. I mean that positively. It's not a gritty documentary, and it doesn't make scandal out of everything. But the air is familiar, the tone, the looks, the clothes. And it is supremely well done, from the dignified camera-work (nothing film noir here) to the solid editing and storytelling, to of course the acting itself. Not exciting, but very involving and interesting.


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