Advise and Consent
The President's choice of an unpopular Secretary of State leads to divisions in the Senate and the blackmail and death of a senator.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Release Date: 10-MAY-2005
Media Type: DVD
Otto Preminger expanded his vision in the 1960s with a whole series of ambitious, expansive dramas with huge casts and big themes. Advise and Consent, an examination of deal making, party politics, and congressional diplomacy in Washington's legislative halls (based on the novel by Allen Drury), is one of his best. Preminger broke the blacklist with his previous film, Exodus, and it rings through in this drama about a controversial nominee for secretary of state (a confident, stately Henry Fonda) accused of being a Communist. The nomination process becomes the center ring of the political circus, with fidgety accuser Burgess Meredith in the spotlight; devious, silver-tongued Charles Laughton cracking the whip as a southern senator with a grudge against Fonda; and party whip Walter Pidgeon lining up votes behind the scenes. Arm twisting and diplomatic hardball turns to perjury and blackmail, and a melodramatic twist gives this lesson in party politics a salacious soap opera dimension. Preminger's style has been hailed as "objective," but it's really a matter of attentiveness: he gives all the character their due and their say, eschewing heroes and villains for an exploration of people clashing over opposing goals. In fact, the weakest elements of the film are the unscrupulous populist senator played by George Grizzard and the badly dated caricatures that populate a notorious underground club. The video preserves the handsome widescreen black-and-white photography, keeping Preminger's careful and measured editing intact. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Preminger was pretty progressive by Hollywood standards, and so the Senate he depicts is remarkably diverse, with senators of many ethnic backgrounds. There's a great cameo (the film's standout moment) from Betty White, who, as a shrewd Kansas senator, trounces George Grizzard, the despicable Senator Van Ackerman (from Wyoming, of course, so as to offend the least number of audience members possible) in open debate on the Senate floor. Preminger was really daring (for the time) in his willingness to tackle the subject of the blackmail of homosexuals in the film. It should be said, however, that the film's notorious depiction of a gay bar (the first Hollywood film to do so openly since the institution of the Hays code) as a nightmarish cesspool of vice, where the fat effeminate bartender hysterically beckons in the horrified Don Murray (see my title), probably did more to keep gay men in the closet in the Sixties than anything Hollywood ever did.
The basic premise of the film is rather simple. The President has nominated a controversial man to become Secretary of State, dropping the nomination like a little bomb on his own party and thus setting the stage for a good bit of ugliness in the Senate - with most of the trouble coming from the President's own majority party. On one end, there's a brash, still-wet-behind-the-ears primadonna who wants to use the media attention to make a name for himself; on the other end is an old curmudgeon of the Senate who opposes the nominee largely for personal reasons. The minority party (led by none other than Will "Grandpa Walton" Geer) pretty much sits back and enjoys the show- but this isn't fun and games, at all. The nominee faces charges that he was at one time a Communist, and the back alley manipulations of unscrupulous Senators push the chairman of the relevant subcommittee to the breaking point. The politics of this era played out in exaggeratedly civil terms, but deep down it was just as ugly as anything you'll see today on the floor of the Senate, where civility has quite disappeared.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
year, (1962). But it is still a very good political mellow drama. The excellent cast presents a primer on how congress works, the presidency, succession & party politics. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by JOHN GODFREY
This book is a classic. The acotrs are marvelous. Orrin Knox could have been more involved in the movie like he was in the book. Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004
This ultra-realistic 1962 drama of the goings-on in Washington, D.C. must rank as one of the best films of its type ever made. It's a lengthy one (2 hrs., 19 min. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2001 by David Von Pein
This is a good film about the nomination of Henry Fonda for Secretary of State. The only problem is that Fonda has a skeleton hidden in his closet and he perjures himself. Read morePublished on Nov. 10 2000 by gobirds2
Fans of the novel (like me) will cringe at how the vital character of Senator Orrin Knox is reduced to a minor figure (and played by the relatively obscure Edward Andrews as a... Read morePublished on May 21 2000 by Eric Paddon