Review: ‘State of the Union’

The hit Broadway play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse has been expanded somewhat in the screen adaptation, a broadening that makes the best use of screen technique. Dialog has headline freshness, and a stinging bite when directed at politicians, the normal voter and the election scene.

The hit Broadway play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse has been expanded somewhat in the screen adaptation, a broadening that makes the best use of screen technique. Dialog has headline freshness, and a stinging bite when directed at politicians, the normal voter and the election scene.

Plot deals with a power-mad femme newspaper publisher who picks up a selfmade plane magnate and shoves him towards the White House to satisfy her own interests. The candidate begins to lose his commonsense when the political malarkey soaks in and only is saved by his frank and honest wife.

Cast is loaded with stalwarts who deliver in top form. The fact that it’s pat casting only helps to insure the payoff. Spencer Tracy fits his personality to the role of the airplane manufacturer who becomes a presidential aspirant. It’s a sock performance. Katharine Hepburn makes much of the role of Tracy’s wife, giving it understanding and warmth that register big. Van Johnson shines as the columnist turned political press agent. It’s one of his better performances.

Capra’s direction punches over the pictorial expose of US politics and candidate manufacturers, the indifference of the average voter, and the need for more expression of true public opinion at the polls.

State of the Union

Production

M-G-M/Liberty. Director Frank Capra; Producer Frank Capra; Screenplay Anthony Veiller, Myles Connolly; Camera George J. Folsey; Editor William Hornbeck; Music Victor Young; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Urie McCleary

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1948. Running time: 121 MIN.

With

Spencer Tracy Katharine Hepburn Van Johnson Angela Lansbury Adolphe Menjou Lewis Stone

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