Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day #21,494

Walk km 3123-3126: Snithe/Seymour/Cordova/Burrard

Convention Centre
aprox km 3125 Canada Place

Movie #1116: Gabriel Over The White House (1933, Gregory LaCava)

Oh boy! What a find this one was. Walter Huston is a do-nothing president during the depression who becomes a hands on dictator after receiving a bump on the head in a traffic accident. The similarities with George Bush are amazing. However, instead of doing his best to destroy the country like Bush, Huston decides to try and save it (and the world). They both turn to fascism although Huston goes way past what Bush ever thought of by getting rid of congress and deploying the army to fight crime. Also, both contend that they are doing God's work.
So, the heart of the matter here is that Huston believes that democracy is a failure and must be replaced by fascism. The viewers will be hard pressed to decide whether to be in agreement or opposed to this theory. The one thing that the movie doesn't tackle is once a dictatorship is in place, who decides who will succeed him as the next dictator. Obviously, eventually the dictator will be the person with the most power and would be unlikely to have any interest in the people's welfare. Even though the last scene in this movie is the president's death, this problem is not mentioned.
Robert Osborne, who introduces the movie for TCM, contends that public response to the movie was positive and it was doing well at the box-office. So, it appears that America was ready for fascism. However, MGM pulled the movie and it wasn't seen again til TCM aired it.

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