The first of Allen Drury "all names changed to protect the guilty" political novels, Advise and Consent was brought to the screen by producer/director Otto Preminger. The film hinges upon the appointment of Robert Leffingwell (Henry Fonda) to Secretary of State. Leffingwell has been hand-picked by the President (Franchot Tone), meaning that there'll be a battle on the Senate floor between adherents of and opponents to the current administration. Among the participants are veteran Dixiecrat Charles Laughton, freshman Senator Don Murray and powerseeker George Grizzard. Burgess Meredith also shows up as a man who is brought into the Senate to "prove" that Leffingwell is a communist. To neutralize Murray, Grizzard threatens to dredge up a homosexual incident in Murray's past, which results in the latter's suicide. Advise and Consent is a slow and old-fashioned film, coming to life only when Laughton and Grizzard are on screen--and in the climax, in which the fate of Leffingwell's appointment is left in the hands of acting President Lew Ayres. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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This is an excellent movie about American politics. The movie is decades old, but the basic elements of the story could have happened yesterday. It is about power struggles, personal grudges, the clash of strong personalities, and a juicy scandal for extra spice. The acting is first rate, and sharp plot twists are tossed in for good measure. B&W.
Exceptional political drama, expert direction from Otto Preminger is a plus, and the cast is an amazing mix of great actors. Henry Fonda stands out, and of course Charles Laughton is amazing. He always is.
This film starts out a bit sluggish and information- heavy before allowing the momentum of its plot to begin. The plot is glued together by stellar performances by the late Charles Laughton in his final performance on film (he died the same year - 1962). Certainly not a memorable film, but a fairly good attempt of 'explaining' politics in Washington D.C. in a communist-fearing soci society of that era.