Gabriel Over the White House

Film, Comedy

Time Out says

A party stooge in the pockets of 'special interests', the newly elected US President, Hammond (Huston), has no intention of squaring up to the Great Depression...until he wakes up from a car accident a changed man: a visionary leader. What distinguishes La Cava's political fable from ostensibly similar populist fantasies by Frank Capra is not so much ideology as urgency. Where John Doe preached neighbourliness and Mr Smith talked boys' camps, Hammond sidesteps Congress to declare a state of emergency, establishes an 'Army of Construction' (a prototype for Workfare), pits the military against the mob, and instigates World Disarmament. His 'divine madness' smacks of fascism, though La Cava might have enlisted Plato in his support as well as Lincoln; and in any case, American movies are as paradoxical as American politics: Louis B Mayer - a staunch Republican - held up the film's release because he saw it as an insult to ex-President Hoover and a boost for Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Any similarities with Messrs Bush and Clinton are entirely coincidental.

By: TCh


Release details

87 mins

Cast and crew

Gregory La Cava
Carey Wilson, Bertram Bloch
Walter Huston
Karen Morley
Franchot Tone
Arthur Byron
C Henry Gordon
Samuel S Hinds
Jean Parker
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