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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Advise And Consent (1962)

When the President (Franchot Tone) nominates a controversial candidate (Henry Fonda) for Secretary Of State, the Senate splits into two factions. Those who want to push his nomination through led by the Senate Majority Leader (Walter Pidgeon) and those opposed lead by the Senator from South Carolina (Charles Laughton). It gets pretty nasty. From 1953 to 1965, Otto Preminger made a series of provocative, mostly successful films that often pushed the envelope of what was (then) acceptable in mainstream American film. ADVISE AND CONSENT is one of his better efforts. A detailed behinds the scenes look at the machinations of Washington D.C. politics. As long as he sticks to the political scene, Preminger captivates us. But when he veers away toward the domestic (the dull scenes between Don Murray and wife Inga Swenson) and the homosexual subplot (Preminger makes a gay bar look like something out of a horror film), the film wobbles. Based on the best seller by Allen Drury, the Wendell Mayes screenplay makes some significant detours. The massive cast includes Gene Tierney, Lew Ayres, Peter Lawford, Betty White, George Grizzard, Paul Ford, Edward Andrews, Will Geer, Malcolm Atterbury and Tom Helmore.

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