Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


HENRY ALDRICH FOR PRESIDENT (1941), Director: Hugh Bennett.

 Following What a Life and Life with Henry, this introduces Jimmy Lydon as a much nerdier Henry than that essayed by Jackie Cooper in the first two films. However, Lydon is such a good actor that he can take a caricature and make him almost three-dimensional and sympathetic. "Dizzy" Stevens, originally played by Eddie Bracken, is now played by Charles Smith, who is somehow less geeky, and uses a normal voice to play the role. Henry's father, now played by John Litel, is completely changed from before, no longer the distant grump of the second film but more of a "pal" to his boy. As Henry's mother, Hedda Hopper has been replaced by the less-cosmopolitan Dorothy Peterson. The gals in Henry's life include Phyllis (Mary Anderson), who has a crush on him, and Geraldine (June Preisser), a pretty blonde who is enlisted to ensnare Henry in a high school plot. Irwin (Kenneth Howell), the boy running against Phyllis for class president, wants Henry to run as well so that those two will divide the votes and make him the winner. Instead, Phyllis drops out and against his father's advice -- Aldrich Sr. thinks his son is just being used -- Henry mounts a serious campaign with the help of Dizzy, causing expected and amusing complications.

Verdict: More fun with Henry. ***. 

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