It's the early nineteenth century Washington. Young adult Margaret O'Neal - Peggy to most that know her - is the daughter of Major William O'Neal, who is the innkeeper of the establishment where most out-of-town politicians and military men stay when they're in Washington. Peggy is pretty and politically aware. She is courted by several of those politicians and military men who all want to marry her, except for the one with who she is truly in love. Because of her personal situation at the time, she, in 1828, becomes the unofficial first lady to help her old friend - "old" both in terms of age and length of time - Andrew Jackson, who has just been elected President of the United States. Jackson and Peggy have the same political outlook, where the union of the states is paramount, especially when many states see their rights as being more important than the union. Jackson had a rough ride during the election in large part because his wife, Rachel Jackson, was seen as a pipe smoking ...Written by
When girlish innkeeper's daughter Joan Crawford (as Margaret "Peggy" O'Neal) develops into a beautiful young woman, many men in 1823 Washington, DC desire her. Ms. Crawford finds sailor Robert Taylor (as "Bow" Timberlake) attractive, but Crawford is saving herself for Virginia Senator Melvyn Douglas (as John Randolph). Meanwhile, boyish Jimmy Stewart (as "Rowdy" Dow) pastes fake sideburns on his cheeks, and pines for Crawford. She brushes off Mr. Stewart, and gets kissed by Mr. Taylor. Though she still loves Mr. Douglas, Crawford marries Taylor after a fight with Douglas, who thinks Crawford is too young for marriage.
Shortly after the wedding, Lieutenant Taylor is called away for three months, to the West Indies.
Crawford waits in Washington with an older couple who consider her a companion and ward, politically savvy Lionel Barrymore (as Andrew "Andy" Jackson) and his pipe-smoking wife Beulah Bondi (as Rachel). After five years, Mr. Barrymore becomes the seventh President of the United States. Though a woman, Crawford is a political adviser of sorts, which encumbers gossip. Crawford's real-life husband, Franchot Tone (as John H. Eaton), also enters the picture. With strong direction by Clarence Brown and photography by George Folsey, MGM production values manage to sustain the years. Otherwise, this historical fiction succeeds as neither.
***** The Gorgeous Hussy (8/28/36) Clarence Brown ~ Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Robert Taylor
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