Advise and Consent (film)

Infobox Film
name = Advise and Consent


image_size = 220px
caption = Film poster by Saul Bass
director = Otto Preminger
producer = Otto Preminger
writer = Allen Drury "(novel)"
Wendell Mayes "(screenplay)"
narrator =
starring = Henry Fonda
Charles Laughton
Don Murray
Walter Pidgeon
Peter Lawford
music = Jerry Fielding
cinematography = Sam Leavitt
editing = Louis R. Loeffler
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = June 6, 1962 "(US)"
runtime = 139 minutes
country = FilmUS
language = English
budget =
gross =
imdb_id = 0055728

"Advise and Consent" is a fy|1962 American motion picture based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Allen Drury, published in 1959. The movie was adapted for the screen by Wendell Mayes and was directed by Otto Preminger. The ensemble cast features Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, Don Murray, Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lawford, Gene Tierney, Franchot Tone, Lew Ayres, Burgess Meredith, Eddie Hodges, Paul Ford, George Grizzard, Inga Swenson, Betty White and others. [imdb title|0055728|Advise and Consent.]

The film is a fictional behind-the-scenes look at politics and governance in Washington, D.C.. The story follows the machinations set into play in the United States Senate when a second-term president surprises his political party by nominating a liberal with a hidden past for Secretary of State.

Plot

Politically liberal Robert A. Leffingwell (Henry Fonda) is nominated to be Secretary of State of the United States. Leffingwell has been hand-picked by a second-term President (Franchot Tone) who is seriously ill. The Senate, using its advise and consent powers, must either approve or deny the appointment. There is a heated battle on the Senate floor between supporters and opponents of the President.

The senators fighting it out in public and in private include the veteran Dixiecrat-like Senator Seabright Cooley (Charles Laughton) of South Carolina and Majority Leader Senator Bob Munson (Walter Pidgeon) of Michigan. A committee appointed to assess the nominee is headed by freshman Utah Senator Brigham Anderson (Don Murray), who finds himself blackmailed by power-seeking Wyoming Senator Fred Van Ackerman (George Grizzard).

Herbert Gelman (Burgess Meredith) is a witness who testifies that Leffingwell has a Communist past. To neutralize Senator Anderson, Senator Van Ackerman threatens to dredge up a homosexual incident in Anderson's past, which results in a suicide.

Cast

Production

The film's title, like the novel, comes from the United States Constitution's Article II, Sec. 2, cl. 2, which provides that the President of the United States "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consults, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…."

Preminger tried but failed to recruit Martin Luther King Jr. to play a black U.S. Senator from Georgia; at the time there were no African-Americans in the Senate. The film marked the first time a post-World War II American audience saw a gay bar in a movie,Holm, D.K. [http://www.dvdjournal.com/quickreviews/a/adviseandconsent.q.shtml "Advise and Consent" Review. "The DVD Journal"] 2005.] and actress Betty White made her film debut as a young Senator from Kansas. [imdb name|id=0924508|name=Betty White.]

The film, which was released in early June 1962, depicts near the end the death of the President of the United States in the Oval Office of natural causes. The real President at the time, John F. Kennedy, would die at the hand of an assassin some year and a half later in November 1963.

Critical reception

The staff of "Variety" magazine liked the acting but believed the screenplay was problematic. They wrote, "As interpreted by producer-director Otto Preminger and scripter Wendell Mayes, "Advise and Consent" is intermittently well dialogued and too talky, and, strangely, arrested in its development and illogical… Preminger has endowed his production with wholly capable performers… The characterizations come through with fine clarity." [ [http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117796687.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&p=0"Advise and Consent" Review. "Variety"] June 1962.]

The film critic for "The New York Times", Bosley Crowther, did not like the contrived storyline of the script, and he wrote, "Without even giving the appearance of trying to be accurate and fair about the existence of a reasonable balance of good men and rogues in government, Mr. Preminger and Wendell Mayes, his writer, taking their cue from Mr. Drury's book, have loaded their drama with rascals to show the types in Washington." Crowther also was bothered by the use of the "homosexual affair." He wrote, "It is in this latter complication that the nature of the drama is finally exposed for the deliberately scandalous, sensational and caustic thing it is. Mr. Preminger has his character go through a lurid and seamy encounter with his old friend before cutting his throat, an act that seems unrealistic, except as a splashy high point for the film." [Crowther, Bosley. [http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9A06E3DC1F3AE63BBC4F53DFB0668389679EDE "Advise and Consent" (1962) Review. "The New York Times"] June 7, 1962.]

Awards

Wins
* National Board of Review: NBR Award, Best Supporting Actor, Burgess Meredith; 1962.

Nominations
* Cannes Film Festival: Palme d'Or, Otto Preminger; 1962.
* British Academy of Film and Television Arts: BAFTA Film Award, Best Foreign Actor, Charles Laughton; 1963.

Notes

External links

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