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      Gabriel Over the White House

      Released Mar 31, 1933 1h 27m Drama List
      75% Tomatometer 16 Reviews 54% Audience Score 250+ Ratings When Judson Hammond (Walter Huston) is elected United States president during the Great Depression, he's seen by many as a hands-off, please-everyone type. After an astounding recovery from a car accident, however, Hammond awakes a changed man. Instituting sweeping, radical changes to the government -- including the dissolution of Congress and the revoking of the Constitution -- Hammond somehow manages to bring order to the country through dictatorship, along with world peace. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (16) Critics Reviews
      Bruce Blevin The New Republic A very naïve piece of Hearstian wish-fulfilment. Feb 18, 2022 Full Review Harry Alan Potamkin The New Masses The picture Gabriel is cheap, tawdry propaganda but not "pointless." Jan 14, 2020 Full Review Pare Lorentz Vanity Fair The film itself is full of long-winded patriotic speeches which seem peculiarly false. Jun 14, 2019 Full Review Sean Axmaker Seanax.com Gregory La Cava's 1933 New Deal fantasy is one of the strangest political films to escape the studios. Dec 6, 2009 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews A unique and somewhat daffy Depression-era comedy New Deal fantasy film. Rated: B- Dec 19, 2008 Full Review Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid A classic example of pre-code Hollywood getting away with all kinds of depression-era madness. Aug 18, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (24) audience reviews
      Steve D Some interesting ideas and no idea what to do with them Rated 2 out of 5 stars 01/02/24 Full Review Audience Member Beyond the movie itself, I'm absolutely fascinated by the tendency of reviewers on this website to confuse despotism for fascism as well as to think that such a tyrannical ideology is definitionally confined only to the right. No doubt the historical coincidence of America with racist authoritarianism makes actual fascism—typically characterized by an in-group/out-group exclusivity—all the harder to recognize and understand, which likely is what leads so many reviewers to read the film ahistorically, from the vantage of an anachronistic moral revulsion aghast that any right thinking person would desire a strongman. Little wonder, then, when a true waddling despot came swaddled in an oversized American flag, so many people mistook his pathetic demagogic pandering for principled democratic populism. For some folks, it must accordingly come as a shock to the system—though unfortunately far from a shock to The System, which in America is fundamentally and brutally authoritarian—to discover that the 1932 election of FDR was greeted in some Democratic circles with calls by prominent literati for an actual Roosevelt dictatorship. That is the motivating fantasy at the heart both of this curious film and American politics, and as much as it seems like an artifact of a bygone era, with its religious intervention, its sense of righteous vengeance, and its autocratic yearnings this could mutatis mutandis just as easily be a distilled version of what the Q zealots are after (albeit with a little less time travel and a lot more social justice). Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/30/23 Full Review Ken R This fascinating one-of-a-kind film has caused many divided opinions over the years and continues to do so to this day. There are several conflicting stories regarding the making of this ground-breaking film but I can only start with the one an Australian industry insider told me:- apparently, MGM boss, Louis. B.Mayer was not keen to make this film at MGM. Seems while Mr Mayer was on Vacation his stand-in as studio production exec (and writer) at this time was Cary Wilson (also known as narrator of the above-average "Miniatures" series of classic shorts from Metro) Both he and the film's producer: Walter Wanger, wanted this film made in the absence of Mayer. Wanger at the time was known for intelligent socially provocative works, some may remember him for titles such as: "Scarlet Street" '45 ~ "Joan Of Arc" '48 ~ "I Want To Live" '58. To give 'Gabriel' a quality look, he sought financial backing from media giant, William Randolph Hearst. Rightly or wrongly, this film is often cited as a propaganda piece for Franklin D. Roosevelt, but it seems the film was actually produced in 1932, during the Hoover years - more about that later... At one stage during its classic story (based on T.F.Tweed's novel ‘Rinehard' but, credited on-screen to an 'Anonymous' novel) the working-class poor stage a mass march on the White House in protest against impossible conditions. This event was based on the infamous march on Washington by returned WW1 vet's seeking their shockingly neglected, unpaid government bonuses. That rally ended badly when Hoover sent in US troops who, under the lead of General Douglas MacArthur attacked them with tanks and tear gas! Hearst was appalled by this inhuman act and made his views loudly known via his publications. He then threw his full media support on contender, Roosevelt's campaign (although his support eventually fell away). The film's story goes on to suggest that perhaps, a fascist state under a benevolent dictator - may offer rational answers to quell some very serious social ills. In the poverty-stricken 1930s, with worldwide political systems failing to solve the immense problems (and before the lessons of WW11) it became rather easy to see merit in that particular scenario - but turn the pages of history back to Rome, then forward to Germany, Italy, etc, it then begs the question: Who could be trusted at the top, with this level of power?. It's said; L.B.Mayer finally found out about this film while attending a preview in California. Much displeased, he held up its release, and many changes were made for the final version. No matter what your political views, or how you choose to interpret any propaganda slant of this movie, it makes one hugely important statement --that if mankind is going to bring about international peace-- then it would need an out-of-this-world personality - to head a government strong enough to maintain ‘absolute' integrity. Has any mere mortal, throughout all of history, proven to have any of the 'lasting' qualities necessary to achieve this? - as the world has seen time over time, it's doubtful any mortal will. Walter Huston again proves his astounding on-screen professional power as the President, this performer is truly special. The president goes on to invite the world's leaders to a demonstration featuring the spectacular destruction of heavy USA military fighting equipment—following this show of demolition, he then makes direct statements regarding the 'monstrous' worldwide spending on machines of war ~ vast amounts of massively expensive equipment that all becomes rapidly redundant ~ making this point, he presents an admirable argument firmly based in logic and economic sense. With its truly impressive long list of committed veteran professionals, in front of camera and behind, this film looks and sounds superb, and is highly recommended to lovers of thoughtful vintage works of high integrity. Thanks to a very good friend, I now have a fine re-mastered Warner Archive DVD to enjoy all over again....KR Rated 4 out of 5 stars 12/04/20 Full Review ashley h Gabriel Over the White House is amazing film. It is about a political hack who becomes President during the height of the Depression. Walter Huston and Karen Morley give fantastic performances. The screenplay is well written. Gregory La Cava did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and romance. Gabriel Over the White House is a must see. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review william s Everything ends rosy as long as you believe in the direction this dictator brings us. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review s r The story drags at times, but there were some interesting time period views of the White House. The shot of the inauguration at the Capitol with people on the roof made my day. Just saw this article https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/25/gabriel-over-the-white-house-fdr-inauguration-217349 Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis When Judson Hammond (Walter Huston) is elected United States president during the Great Depression, he's seen by many as a hands-off, please-everyone type. After an astounding recovery from a car accident, however, Hammond awakes a changed man. Instituting sweeping, radical changes to the government -- including the dissolution of Congress and the revoking of the Constitution -- Hammond somehow manages to bring order to the country through dictatorship, along with world peace.
      Director
      Gregory La Cava
      Producer
      Walter Wanger
      Screenwriter
      Carey Wilson, T.F. Tweed, Bertram Bloch
      Distributor
      MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
      Production Co
      Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Cosmopolitan Films
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Mar 31, 1933, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Nov 16, 2016
      Runtime
      1h 27m
      Sound Mix
      Mono