Gabriel Over the White House (1933)"The United States of America is a democracy! We are not yet ready to give up the government of our time!"
"You have given it up. You've turned your backs, you've closed your ears to the appeals of the people.
You've been traitors to the concept of democracy upon which this government was founded."
"Gabriel Over the White House" is one of the more astonishing wish-fulfillment fables to come out of Depression-era Hollywood. You can't quite believe what you're watching even as you're watching it.
I highly recommend reading his full review
I've watched a lot of movies, but I have never seen a political drama like this. Usually with political films, there's an obvious conservative or (more often) liberal slant to them. The characters and the drama become vessels for the writer to make a pitch for some sweeping social agenda or surgical change in the political process. Gabriel Over the White House supposes a benevolent demagogue, a man who grabs for power because he best knows how to apply it, something proven right again and again in the film. Suppose our leader had a socialist agenda fused to his bullying, iron-willed method for getting his way. Coming out at a time when FDR and Hitler were continuing to rise on the world stage, the script here merges the two to show how closely related they are.
Walter Huston, who I've seen excel in hero and villain roles, has the right moral shiftiness to play this Republican party hack turned progressive Democrat. Franchot Tone is also really good as the Secretary to the President. But it's the wild turns of the plot that really make this memorable. The President declares war on mobsters, using military resources to cease gangland violence. Some of these scenes are filmed with stylized sets that reminded me of German Expressionism and the Nazi architecture of Albert Speer. You can read whatever Trump parallels you want to into this, but the film is audacious enough on its own that further connections are not needed.RATING: ★ ★ ★ - Good