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Directed by Gregory La Cava

United States 1933 86 mins. In English

During the depths of the depression, President Judson Hammond (Walter Huston) sides against workers and offers up uninspired political doctrine in the place of a plan to correct the course of the nation. After a bout of reckless driving puts him in a coma, Hammond is reborn as a radical progressive who declares himself a dictator, relentlessly working against rampant unemployment, crime, and other pernicious societal ills. Prior to the film’s release, MGM got cold feet, worried that it would be “unwise to show a film which might be regarded by the nation at large as subversive and by foreign nations as invidious,” prompting several cuts. “A real you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it movie, Gabriel Over the White House seems like it should be a cautionary tale, warning American moviegoers of what’ll happen if they’re not more diligent about the leaders they elect.”—Noel Murray, The A.V. Club.

35mm print from the collection of the Library of Congress.