Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Overlooked Movies -- Advise and Consent

Back in the days when I read big, thick books, Advise and Consent was one of the big, thick books that I read.  I loved it, and even now, more than 50 years later, I remember it pretty well.  Maybe that's because I also saw the movie version.

If you watched the trailer I posted a bit earlier, you might have noticed that the narrator says, "A word of warning: These people are all fictional, so don't try to guess who they are."  What that means, of course, is that everyone in the movie is based on a real person, not that any of the whippersnappers reading this will remember most of them.  Part of the fun of reading the book was figuring out which actual people Drury was writing about.  The characters may be composites, but some of them seem clearly based on easily recognized people.

Not that it matters now, fifty years on down the line. What matters is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The book and movie are the story of a seriously ill president trying to get his nominee confirmed as secretary of state.  The obstructionists in the senate (notably Charles Laughton in the movie, in a great hammy performance) will do anything to stop the confirmation because they believe nominee is a commie.  The president will do anything, dig up any dirt, to get the confirmation.  And the dirt that's dug is pretty racy for 1962, believe me.  Now?  You decide, but I wonder if things have changed much, if at all.

This is a Big Hollywood Movie, with lots of name stars (well, they were names in 1962). They're uniformly excellent in their roles, with a couple of people having the best parts of their careers (Peter Lawford, for one, who in a smooth casting move plays someone very much like JFK).

Interestingly enough (to me, if not to you) is the fact that as much as I liked the book and movie, I never read one of the several sequels to the novel that Drury wrote.


James Reasoner said...

I read the whole series and enjoyed the books, although they got a little goofy toward the end. Drury's best book as far as I'm concerned is THE THRONE OF SATURN, which is about the space program.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I agree with you about the book and the movie. I did read the sequel, PRESERVE AND PROTECT, but don't remember anything about it. But then, there was no movie version. Back in college I was interested enough to seek out and read Drury's A SENATE JOURNAL, 1943-45. It was interesting to read his take as a young reporter on the doings of the Senate in wartime.


Ray Kolb said...

I also read both Advise and Consent and the sequel, Preserve and Protect. I really liked the first one and, like Jeff, don't remember anything about the second one.

Bud said...

Never read the book, but the movie is a masterpiece! Laughton put his "over-the-top" acting skills to great use in this one 8-)

Unknown said...

Yeah, he was great. I think it was his last movie.