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

Thursday, February 7, 2013


STATE OF THE UNION (1948). Director: Frank Capra.

"We even had a democrat in that bed one night!" -- housekeeper Margaret Hamilton.

"If I've got to listen to speeches, you'd better make me another sazerac right away!" -- Lulubelle Alexander

Newspaper publisher Kay Thorndyke (Angela Lansbury) and long-time politico Jim Conover (Adolph Menjou) work together to get plane manufacturer Grant Matthews( Spencer Tracy) to toss his hat in the Republican ring. Although she has reservations -- particularly regarding the participation of Kay, who is carrying a torch for Grant -- Matthews' wife Mary (Katharine Hepburn) agrees to go along on the campaign trail, hoping her husband will win the party's nomination. But as the weeks go by she watches in horror as Grant succumbs to the manipulations of Kay and Jim, compromising to the point where he's turning his back on what he really believes in just so he has a chance at the white house. Something's gotta give, and boy does it! This wonderful, still topical movie features top-notch performances from the actors named, as well as from Van Johnson as a snappy reporter named Spike. Margaret Hamilton has an amusing supporting part as a housekeeper who has a yen for Spike, and Maidel Turner is a riot as Lulubelle Alexander, a judge's wife who loves her sazerac cocktails; Charles Dingle, Raymond Walburn, Howard Smith and Irving Bacon also score. Hepburn's first name is misspelled in the opening credits, there are a couple of stupid moments, but everything else is just about perfect!

Verdict: Another Capra winner! ***1/2.

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