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Politics (1931)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 25 July 1931 (USA)
Middle-aged widow Hattie Burns becomes fed up when local small-town politicians ignore corruption and decides to run for mayor herself.


Charles Reisner (as Charles F. Riesner)


Zelda Sears (story), Malcolm Stuart Boylan (story) | 2 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Marie Dressler ... Hattie Burns
Polly Moran ... Ivy Higgins
Roscoe Ates ... Peter Higgins (as Rosco Ates)
Karen Morley ... Myrtle Burns
William Bakewell ... Benny Emerson
John Miljan ... Jim Curango
Joan Marsh ... Daisy Evans
Tom McGuire ... Mayor Tom Collins
Kane Richmond ... Nifty Morgan
Mary Alden ... Mrs. Mary Evans


Middle-aged, small-town widow Hattie Burns is angered when a friend's daughter is inadvertently killed by s stray bullet in a gangland shootout at a local speakeasy. When Hattie confronts the mayor, a political hack running for re-election, at a campaign event about closing the illegal operations down, he brushes her off as only a woman. Other women at the rally draft her as a rival candidate with best-friend Ivy as campaign manager and female voters go on a "Lysistrata"-like parlor, bedroom, and bath strike in order to insure Hattie's election. Unfortunately, Hattie does not know that her daughter Myrtle's boyfriend, a reformed but wounded hoodlum, is hiding out in her attic. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They give you the grandest laugh for your money you've ever had. Marie enters the political game and how she makes the grafters run. It's a riot. (Print Ad- Heppner Gazette-Times, ((Heppner, Ore.)) 8 October 1931) See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


After the fireplace incident, when Hattie says Ivy looks like "Madam Queen", audiences at the time, especially in New York City, would have known she was referring to Stephanie St. Clair (1897-1969), who ran a highly lucrative numbers game in Harlem in the 1920's and '30's. She was portrayed by Cicely Tyson in Hoodlum (1997). See more »


Jim Curango: [Listening to the corrupt mayor speaking to a women's club on the radio] Hah! We're a cinch! Don't those old dames fall for color? That guy could bring tears to a glass eye!
See more »

Crazy Credits

This story is dedicated to women - who have been fighting for their rights ever since Adam and Eve started the loose-leaf system. See more »


References The Stolen Jools (1931) See more »


Happy Days Are Here Again
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
Sung a cappella by Marie Dressler and Polly Moran
See more »

User Reviews

Lysistrata Redux
29 April 2005 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

This sprightly programmer, starring Marie Dressler, transforms the story to modern politics ca. 1931. Dressler and the women are anxious to close the speakeasies -- this was made during Prohibition. There is a strong cast of women, including Polly Moran, Joan Marsh and Karen Morley. The men are played by supporting comics, including Roscoe Ates, on whose voice Porky Pig was modeled.

Dressler was an interesting character. A big legitimate stage star, she was one of the leaders of the strike that formed Actor's Equity. By the late 1920s, she was washed up, until screenwriter Frances Marion wrote a role for her, and by 1931, she was MGM's biggest star. Her character was a fat, good-intentioned, foul-mouthed harridan, and she could tread the line between comedy and drama as surefootedly as anyone in the industry.

Charles Reisner directs without much visual flair in this movie. He relies mostly on cuts to move the story along, moving the camera only slightly to maintain composition.

POLITICS is pretty well dated, but it remains a fascinating film, if only for the performance of Miss Dressler.

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Official Sites:

WB Shop / Warner Archive





Release Date:

25 July 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hell Bent for Election See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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