Saturday, July 3, 2010
Independence Day Movie Blogathon: State of the Union(1948).
State of the Union(1948). Written by Myles Connolly and Anthony Veiller of the Russel Crouse, Howard Lindsay play of the same name. Director: Frank Capra. Cast: Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Originally, actress Claudette Colbert was cast as Mary, the wife of Grant Matthews, but disagreements with Capra and a "back" injury led to the casting of Hepburn.
The film begins as Republican newspaper owner Kay Thorndyke, intends to help, Grant Matthews, to become President of the United States with her as the woman behind the man.
Matthews is not sure of the idea of running for president. Despite knowing about her husband and Thorndyke's affair Mary agrees to stand behind him because of his political values.
Matthews makes a controversial speech in Wichita. Before he makes the same speech in Detroit criticising big business, Thorndyke persuades him to change his tone to help his chances for the nomination. With her and Conover's help, Matthews makes deals with special interests groups for their support.
Before a nationwide interview from the Matthews' home, Mary learns of Thorndyke's continuing relationship with her husband and sees the deals that he has made. Matthews realizes that he has betrayed his and Mary's believes. On live radio, will he come to his senses before it is to late?
I think this is one of my favorite Tracy/Hepburn films. Van Johnson, performs in one of his best roles as the good guy who sees through the corrupt Angela Lansbury and Adolphe Menjou. It is fun to watch Angela Lansbury (age 23) playing a woman in her 40's with perfection.
In 1947, Adolphe Menjou, was a leading member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a group formed to oppose Communist influence in Hollywood.
Other members included John Wayne, Barbara Stanwyck (with whom he co-starred in Forbidden in 1932 and Golden Boy in 1939) and her husband, actor Robert Taylor.
Menjou performed with Hepburn in the films Stage Door and State of the Union. Hepburn was strongly opposed to Americans co-operating with the McCarthy hearings.
It was reported by William Mann in his biography of Hepburn that during the filming of State of the Union, she and Menjou only spoke to each other only when required for the film.