15 user 4 critic

The Phantom President (1932)

A presidential candidate is deemed to have a dull personality, thus a charismatic look-alike is hired as a front.


Norman Taurog




Complete credited cast:
George M. Cohan ... Theodore K. Blair / Peeter J. 'Doc' Varney
Claudette Colbert ... Felicia Hammond
Jimmy Durante ... Curly Cooney
George Barbier ... Boss Jim Ronkton
Sidney Toler ... Prof. Aikenhead
Louise Mackintosh ... Sen. Sarah Scranton
Jameson Thomas ... Jerrido
Julius McVicker ... Sen. Melrose


Too bad for presidential hopes of banker T.K. Blair; his party feels he has too little flair for savoir faire. But at a medicine show, the party bosses find Blair's double: huckster Doc Varney. Of course, they scheme to make Varney T.K.'s public spokesman; at first, he even fools Blair's girlfriend Felicia, providing a romantic complication. As election eve approaches, the conspirators face the problem of what to do with Varney...who has difficult decisions of his own to make. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's nonsense and - I love it! See more »


Comedy | Musical


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Did You Know?


One of Paramount's biggest flops of 1932. See more »


Prof. Aikenhead: Blair lacks political charm. Blair has no flair for savoir faire.
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Written by Arthur Johnston
Lyrics by Jimmy Durante
Briefly included by Durante in "Medicine Show" routine
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User Reviews

The Phantom President is the only chance to see the legendary George M. Cohan in a talkie musical
2 July 2020 | by tavmSee all my reviews

With today being the second day of July, it's also the second day I'm reviewing movies with either a patriotic theme or about a patriotic person, in this case about George M. Cohan. Well, actually, this particular one stars Mr. Cohan-one of only two talkies he made though his other one, Gambling, is lost for now-playing two roles: that of an uncharismatic presidential candidate and also of a medicine show man who makes public appearances playing that candidate. Also starring Claudette Colbert as that candidate's girlfriend and Jimmy Durante as the medicine man's sidekick. The songs are mostly by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart though there were also some tunes by Cohan and Durante. I have to note one more appearance-that of Sidney Toler as one of the campaign managers. If he sounds familiar, then you're probably seen many of his Charlie Chan movies! Anyway, this was a pretty entertaining musical comedy though much of Durante's material is uneven even though he's pretty entertaining throughout and there's some unfortunate blackface concerning Cohan but this is the only time we see his expert hoofing on screen. In fact, if James Cagney had not portrayed Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy-which is what I'll review next-years later, the only reason for anyone to watch this movie in modern times would be for fans of Claudette Colbert and Jimmy Durante to complete their viewing of everything they did! By the way, I also liked the beginning sequence in which four presidential portraits were singing to each other! Those portraits were of the same people who eventually were carved on Mount Rushmore...

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Release Date:

23 September 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Falso Presidente See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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