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Advise & Consent (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 6 June 1962 (USA)
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4:45 | Trailer
Senate investigation into the President's newly nominated Secretary of State, gives light to a secret from the past, which may not only ruin the candidate, but the President's character as well.

Director:

Otto Preminger

Writers:

Allen Drury (novel), Wendell Mayes (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Franchot Tone ... The President
Lew Ayres ... The Vice President
Henry Fonda ... Robert Leffingwell
Walter Pidgeon ... Senate Majority Leader
Charles Laughton ... Senator Seabright Cooley
Don Murray ... Senator Brigham Anderson
Peter Lawford ... Senator Lafe Smith
Gene Tierney ... Dolly Harrison
Burgess Meredith ... Herbert Gelman
Eddie Hodges ... Johnny Leffingwell
Paul Ford ... Senator Stanley Danta
George Grizzard ... Senator Fred Van Ackerman
Inga Swenson ... Ellen Anderson
Paul McGrath ... Hardiman Fletcher
Will Geer ... Senate Minority Leader
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Storyline

Robert Leffingwell is the president's nominee for Secretary of State. Prior to his approval, he must go through a Senate investigation to determine if he's qualified. Leading the Senate committee is idealistic Senator Brig Anderson, who soon finds himself unprepared for the opposition and political dirt that's revealed, including Leffingwell's past affiliations with a Communist organization. When Leffingwell testifies about his political leanings, he proves his innocence. Later, however, Anderson learns that he lied under oath and asks the president to withdraw Leffingwell from consideration, especially after the young senator and his wife begins receiving blackmail threats about a skeleton in his own closet. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Are the men and women of Washington really like this?

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 June 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tormenta sobre Washington See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Advise & Consent was one of a sequence of Preminger films that challenged both the Motion Picture Association of America's Production Code and the Hollywood blacklist. It pushed censorship boundaries with its depiction of a married senator who is being blackmailed over a wartime homosexual affair, and was the first mainstream American movie after World War II to show a gay bar. Preminger confronted the blacklist by casting left-wing actors Will Geer and Burgess Meredith. It was the first of five films in which Preminger cast Meredith. See more »

Goofs

In the novel, Brig Anderson is identified as a Mormon. (the film does not state this). The Majority leader asks Brig Anderson, to join him for a cup of coffee. Coffee is absolutely prohibited for Mormons (The Word of Wisdom). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[a boy is selling newspapers outside the U.S. Capitol, with the headline "Leffingwell Picked for Secretary of State"]
Paperboy: [to a customer] Thank you.
Stanley Danta: Morning, son.
Paperboy: [taking change from Danta] Good morning, senator... thank you.
[Danta gets into a taxicab]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Debbie Reynolds Show: Advice and Dissent (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

The Song from Advise and Consent
Music by Jerry Fielding
Lyrics by Ned Washington
Sung Frank Sinatra - voice on juke box
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Even more relevant today than in 1962
25 May 2005 | by extratempore2See all my reviews

Although I had seen it when it first came out (I was 18) and again about about 6 months ago (Winter, 2004), this screening (May, 2005) was even more insightful.

It really has aged very well, and is, obviously, at least as relevant today as it was in 1962 --"realistic" in its depiction of the congressional situation in its own day, positively prescient in its relation to our own.

Fonda is good, but curiously second fiddle to the other, more subtle characters.

It's Walter Pigeon's best flick (by far), well cast as the Senate Majority Leader and he carries the role off with an almost Shakespearean aplomb.

Almost Charles Laughton's best (only because that's a very hard call), with his hopelessly crumpled white suit and hat, shufflin' gait, positively Irvinesque homespun witticisms and wonderful, drawling, contemptuous "Mis-ter Rob-ert A. Leff-in-well".

Might be Franchot Tone's best, as well, as the ailing, frail, chain-smoking president, a little bit too close to Life (filmed 6 years before he died of lung cancer).

Gene Tierney is very good as the D.C. socialite hostess "Dolly Harrison" --a character clearly based on Averill Harriman's wife Pamela or, as a type, a later Katherine Graham.

Definitely Peter Lawford's best film --which, admittedly, is not saying much, but he's very well cast as a rather dissolute, philandering Kennedyesque senator who is, nonetheless, not without his Qualities.

Lew Ayres' Casper Milquetoast "Vice President Harley M. Hudson" is an excellently wrought character, from his "bucket of warm spit" role as the impotent President of the Senate to the wonderful twist he gives it at the end, which expounds quite beautifully the subtleties and definitiveness of the Reality of Power.

The scenes of D.C. are positively nostalgic --imagine anyone being able to catch a cab to the capital and then walk right up the steps and go inside ; or an aged night-watchman making his rounds as *the* Security for the inside of the Senate building.

As are the various aspects of the underground "Gay Scene" in NYC with the wonderfully cast Larry Tucker, Jerry Fielding's fine music and "the voice of Frank Sinatra" (as credited). (Some might object to the "clichés" in these scenes, but, to me, those clichés are part and parcel of the ambiance of the period of the film and the culture it portrays and should be seen as such --rather like appreciating the overt racism in "Birth of a Nation" for what it is. I am glad that Preminger didn't "sanitize" his presentation of this matter, especially given the crucial nature of it to the plot of the film.)

But the contrast between the civility --albeit occasionally a rather raw one-- of the senate of circa 1960 and that of the present day is not nostalgic quite so much as it is just heart-rending ("The World We Have Lost"), and the roots of our present grotesque, take-no-prisoners congressional savagery are fully exposed in the intertwined plot lines of McCarthyesque ideological rigidity and homosexual blackmail.

All in all, a "Roman à Clef" to the political world of 1960's Washington, vividly relevant to our own time.


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