Gabriel Over the White House

Movie Information

In Brief: Gregory La Cava’s Gabriel Over the White House (1933) isn’t a particularly good movie, but as one of a handful of peculiarly pro-fascist movies floating around from that time, it takes the prize for the most alarming of the lot. Walter Huston stars as a shallow party-man politico (which party is never specified) who has been elected president. He has a near-death experience and comes back a changed man—apparently under the influence of some kind of divine intervention. This influence causes him to essentially set himself up as a dictator—complete with brown-shirted minions, firing squads for gangsters and an imperialistic stance. Such a man could, the film puports, fix the Depression and bring back prosperity and world peace — all in 85 demented minutes. Looked at in its era, the film makes a certain amount of sense. Still, the message of the movie wasn’t lost on those living in the era it was made. It pretty much seems to have horrified the reviewers, one of whom called it Fascism Over the White House. This excerpt was taken from a review by Ken Hanke published on Sept. 14, 2010.
Genre: Political Fantasy With a Dose of Fascism
Director: Gregory La Cava
Starring: Walter Huston, Karen Morley, Franchot Tone, C. Henry Gordon, Arthur Byron
Rated: NR

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Gabriel Over the White House on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community, 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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