Happy Presidents' Day, everyone.
Gabriel Over the White House is a strange film that was shot in February and March,1933 after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president and before he was sworn in. Greg La Cava directed it, based on an anonymous novel by TF Tweed. William Randolph Hearst put up the money and contributed at least one speech.
Walter Huston, who had played Abraham Lincoln a few years before, was newly elected President Judd Hammond. Hammond is a machine politician who operates on giving and getting favors. He was driving his own car and was hurt badly in an accident. When he came out of his coma, he had changed. Apparently under the influence of the Angel Gabriel and the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, he became an active president who tried to help people.
At the same time, he seemed to adopt some fascist practices, sending a special police unit with armored cars to attack criminal mobsters. They get tried before a military tribunal and then shot.
After bringing peace to the world by strong arming other leaders, he dies.
|Motion Picture Herald, 20-May-1933|