Entertainment Weekly - 07/29/1994
"...A hornet's nest....One of the savviest of all films about politics..." -- Rating: A
USA Today - 08/12/1994
"...[With] many good performances..."
Premiere - 06/01/2005
"[A]bsolutely the best film ever made about American politics..."
Preminger's political thriller examines the dark side of politics and its tragic personal repercussions for an essentially decent man. When a President nominates a controversial candidate for Secretary of State, the political dealing and infighting begins as dissident legislators are willing to stoop even to blackmail to stop his confirmation -- or assure it. Preminger seemed to hit his stride lending a documentary tension to legal or political settings, and this is one of his best. Laughton's last role.
Description by Warner Home Video:
A controversial political appointee triggers DC gamesmanship and scandal. Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon and Charles Laughton in Otto Preminger's film of Allen Drury's best seller.
This 1962 film, like many of Otto Preminger's other films, tread on controversial territory, namely homosexuality and McCarthyism. The film contains a scene set in a gay bar, an almost unheard of image in a big-budget film in 1962.
Because the theatrical production of the story (itself based on a best-selling novel) was still playing when the film was made, the movie's opening was held off in a rights dispute.
There is a computer-colorized version of the video available.
The title sequence, with its animated Capitol Building with a dome that "lifts", and a montage of waving American flags, was designed by Saul Bass.