A look behind the scenes at the wheeling and dealing that goes on in Washington to get things done. The dying President (Franchot Tone) nominates a controversial candidate (Henry Fonda as Robert A. Leffingwell) for Secretary of State. The film, based on real events, follows the public and private dealings as the Senate holds confirmation hearings on the nomination. Blackmail, smear tactics, political trade-offs and more highlight this movie.
Senate majority leader Robert Munson of Michigan (Walter Pidgeon) tries to steer Leffingwell toward confirmation, with his initial roadblock being Senate Pro Tem Seabright “Seab” Cooley-SC (Charles Laughton), a minority party member. But Munson bypasses overly-ambitious Wyoming senator Fred Van Ackerman (George Grizzard) to put Utah’s Brigham “Brig” Anderson (Don Murray) in charge of the committee vetting of Leffingwell. Cooley drags out an old comrade from the nominee’s college days (Herbert Gelman, played by Burgess Meredith) in an attempt to scuttle the appointment. Meanwhile, Van Ackerman sics a team of blackmailers on the bisexual Anderson in an attempt to ensure the nomination, even though Anderson, Munson, and the president know Leffingwell has provided perjured testimony about his past. Anderson travels to New York and assaults his old army lover outside a gay bar, returning to the Capitol to slit his own throat in his Senate office. Chastened by Anderson’s suicide, Munson and Cooley agree to disagree in a “nice” way, and the full Senate vote on Leffingwell’s nomination ends on a 47-47 tie since Munson has shamed Van Ackerman into walking out of the chamber before his name is called. Just as the voting ends, the Vice-President Harley Hudson (Lew Ayres), the Senate’s presiding officer, is informed that the excitement of the radio broadcast of the close roll-call vote has resulted in the President’s death. Knowing that Leffingwell has given false testimony under oath, Hudson refuses to honor his mentor’s dying wish, stating that as president-apparent, he’ll nominate his own choice for Secretary of State. –IMDb
Otto Ludwig Preminger (December 5, 1905 – April 23, 1986) was an Austrian-born Jewish American film director who moved from the theatre to Hollywood, directing over 35 feature films in a five-decade career. He rose to prominence for stylish film noir mysteries such as Laura (1944) and Fallen Angel (1945). In the 1950s and 1960s, he directed a number of high-profile adaptations of popular novels and stage works. Several of these pushed the boundaries of censorship by dealing with topics which were then taboo in Hollywood, such as drug addiction (The Man with the Golden Arm, 1955), rape (Anatomy of a Murder, 1959), and homosexuality (Advise and Consent, 1962). He was twice nominated for the Best Director Academy Award. He also had a few acting roles.
Preminger was born in Wiznitz, a town west of Czernowitz, Northern Bukovyna, in today’s Ukraine, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Markus and Josefa Preminger. Preminger’s father was born in 1877 in Galicia, at a time when… read more
One of Preminger's masterworks and a way ahead of its time classic. Henry Fonda is exceptional and every other actor (in roles large and/or small) is perfect: George Grizzard; Burgess Meredith; Charles Laughton: Walter Pidgeon
Ehh. Advise and Consent starts off strong enough but all of the bluster and kicked up dust land pretty quickly in the second act and it was too long. For as great as the ensemble cast is, too many of the characters seemed unnecessary and a lot of them just kind of disappeared. Great acting and wonderful direction, but overall just a pretty flat movie with a few performances to make a difference.