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Gabriel Over the White House

posted by Nell Minow

A little-seen 1933 film called “Gabriel Over the White House” has some themes that are particularly resonant in this time of unprecedented economic uncertainty and this historic Presidential campaign. Walter Houston (father of director John Huston and grandfather of actress Anjelica Houston — three generations of Oscar winners) plays the newly elected President of the United States, a cynical and apathetic man who has an affair with his private secretary and refuses to meet with the leader of the homeless. But then he has an automobile accident and is seriously injured. When he comes out of his coma, he is transformed. As he becomes an outspoken advocate of integrity and economic justice, he makes some powerful enemies. But it becomes clear that he has been inspired by a visit from the angel Gabriel.This has been a controversial film since it was made for its frank acknowledgment of political policies based on scripture and for its association of policies some people consider “liberal” with religious beliefs some people consider “conservative.” Audiences have argued about whether the President is a visionary or a dictator. But it seems astonishingly prescient in its portrayal of the failures of Wall Street and government and its sincere commitment to Biblical principles is still fresh and appealing.



  • DON

    IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME FOR THIS FILM TO BE WATCHED AND STUDIED BY OUR ELECTED, THE SOON-TO-BE ELECTED ‘REPRESENTATIVES’, AND THE ELECTORATE….THE TIME IS NOW.
    I JUST FINISHED VIEWING THIS MOVIE FOR THE FIRST TIME AND AM AMAZED AT HOW APROPO IT IS FOR THIS VERY TIME IN OUR COUNTRY’S HISTORY.
    JUST AS IN 1933, 4 YEARS AFTER THE ’29 CRASH, WILL WE SEE A REMAKE OF THIS MOVIE IN 2012? WILL IT ALSO BLUR THE LINES OF LIBERAL / CONSERVATIVE? DIRECTED BY CLINT EASTWOOD, STARRING TOM HANKS OR DENZEL WASHINGTON……GREAT TIMING TCM!!!! TRY PRIME TIME THIS WEEK!

  • Davis Bradley

    This is supposed to be Christian? Did you even watch the film? The presidential term of Hammond is marked by:
    Summary executions
    Mock trials
    Suspension of basic human rights
    Suspension of several articles of the constitution
    Representative government abolished
    suspension of due process
    Threatening the world’s countries with destruction if they did not bow to U.S. supremacy
    This is not Christ-like at all.
    Regards,
    Davis

  • sp

    It isn’t a film about “liberal” or “conservative.” It is a film that champions fascism. At the time (just as Hitler, Mussolini, Franco were entering public consciousness), there were many who viewed fascism as an acceptable form of government — things got done. Of course, we fought WWII because of the American belief that freedom and justice were more important.

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