Review: ‘Gabriel Over the White House’

A mess of political tripe superlatively hoked up into a picture of strong popular possibilities, Walter Wanger's first Metro production as a supervisor is a cleverly executed commercial release [from the anonymous novel of the same name].

A mess of political tripe superlatively hoked up into a picture of strong popular possibilities, Walter Wanger’s first Metro production as a supervisor is a cleverly executed commercial release [from the anonymous novel of the same name].

A new President (Walter Huston), up to then a pretty practical politician, is dying after an automobile smash and is miraculously revived. Divine intervention stays the hand of the reaper and brings the President back to lead the nation and the world out of the trials of depression.

The resurrected President goes before Congress in a big scene, asks to be made a dictator to deal with the emergency, and when Congress refuses he declares martial law and takes control. While all these sprightly doings are in process the President’s girl secretary (Karen Morley) and his young aide (Franchot Tone) fall in love.

Huston plays the part so persuasively that witnessers will be tricked into accepting its monstrous exaggerations. Tone, young newcomer for whom Metro has high hopes, and Morley, a satisfying player in almost any sort of an assignment, carry what amount to walk-on parts and make them look like leads.

Gabriel Over the White House

Production

M-G-M/Cosmopolitan. Director Gregory La Cava; Producer [Walter Wanger]; Screenplay Carey Wilson, Bertram Bloch; Camera Bert Glennon; Editor Basil Wrangell; Music William Axt; Art Director Cedric Gibbons

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1933. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

Walter Huston Karen Morley Franchot Tone Arthur Byron Dickie Moore C. Henry Gordon
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