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State of the Union (1948)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 30 April 1948 (USA)
An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels.


Frank Capra


Howard Lindsay (play), Russel Crouse (play) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Grant Matthews
Katharine Hepburn ... Mary Matthews
Van Johnson ... 'Spike' McManus
Angela Lansbury ... Kay Thorndyke
Adolphe Menjou ... Jim Conover
Lewis Stone ... Sam Thorndyke
Howard Smith ... Sam I. Parrish
Charles Dingle ... Bill Nolard Hardy
Maidel Turner ... Lulubelle Alexander
Raymond Walburn ... Judge Alexander
Margaret Hamilton ... Norah
Art Baker ... Leith - Radio Announcer
Pierre Watkin ... Sen. Lauterback
Florence Auer ... Grace Orval Draper
Irving Bacon ... Buck Swenson


Kay Thorndyke (Dame Angela Lansbury) loves Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy) and helps him become Republican nominee for President. The party machine begins to worry as Grant begins to speak for himself. At an important dinner, his wife Mary (Katharine Hepburn) condemns corrupt politicians, and Grant learns to speak out even more boldly. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How's the State of the Union? It's GREAT!


Comedy | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Included amongst the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the five hundred movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies. See more »


Katharine Hepburn's name is misspelled in the opening credits as "Katherine". This is the result of the original MGM opening credits (MGM was the original theatrical distributor.) being replaced by haphazardly designed replacement credits when MGM's distribution rights expired. See more »


Mary Matthews: Another thing - he used to hate to hear me swear. Whenever I'd let with something, he'd smack me on my sitter, hard. I've done a lot of swearing on this trip.
Jim Conover: And no smacks?
Mary Matthews: It's a small request, but I'd give anything for a good smack on my south end.
Jim Conover: I wish there was something I could do about that.
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Crazy Credits

When this film was reissued, new titles and credits were printed. The original end cast listing was retained, so the cast names which are misspelled in the reissue's opening credits are spelled correctly in the closing cast list. See more »


Featured in Frank Capra's American Dream (1997) See more »

User Reviews

Hepburn Steals the Show
28 December 2009 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

State of the Union (1948)

*** (out of 4)

Political drama from Capra has an honest Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy) being selected to run for President but soon his honest ways are thrown out by a newspaper woman (Angela Lansbury) and a political spinner (Adolphe Menjou). The two of them plan on riding him into the White House but his wife (Katharine Hepburn) begins to have second thoughts on what their turning her husband into. Of all the Tracy/Hepburn teamings this one here is probably the least known, which is a little bit surprising considering Capra directed it and the wonderful supporting cast but on second thought it might be understandable as this isn't the typical film that they'd appear in together. The movie features some terrific performances but a few questionable bits a comedy keep it from being a bigger hit. There were some scenes that I would have left on the cutting room floor including an extremely silly sequence where plane-tag is played. With a few more of the comedic moments edited out you would have been left with a major hit but as is this film still manages to be quite powerful. What really makes the film go is Hepburn and it's funny to learn she got the role by accident after another actress pretty much walked off after certain demands of hers couldn't be met. Hepburn steals the film from Tracy as she really digs in and gives the movie all of its heart and soul and I think the actress really should get this film mentioned more when people discuss her wonderful career. Tracy is once again Tracy meaning that he turns in the expected great performance. The supporting cast includes nice work from Lewis Stone, Van Johnson, Charles Dingle and even Carl "Alfafa" Switzer in a small role. Menjou and Lansbury are very good in their supporting roles of what would turn out to be good villains. Capra pretty much handled this type of material earlier in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON but he makes it all seem fresh again here. The ending has a nice punch to it even though you'll certainly see it coming from a mile away. It's rather funny to see how political movies from the 1930s and 40s still hold up perfectly well today but then it's rather sad to see how nothing much has changed in the political world.

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Release Date:

30 April 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's State of the Union See more »


Box Office


$2,600,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Liberty Films (II) See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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