State Of The Union

  • 1948
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Political

Spencer Tracy stars in this political drama as a millionaire aircraft manufacturer who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. A party outsider, Tracy isn't given much of a chance to capture the nomination. Further, his personal life is not the kind most voters would find endearing. He has been separated from his wife, Hepburn, for some years,...read more

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Spencer Tracy stars in this political drama as a millionaire aircraft manufacturer who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. A party outsider, Tracy isn't given much of a chance to capture the nomination. Further, his personal life is not the kind most voters would find

endearing. He has been separated from his wife, Hepburn, for some years, and is having an affair with Lansbury, a wealthy newspaper publisher. With Lansbury's newspapers supporting Tracy's candidacy, he could become a much more legitimate contender for the nomination. Still, his personal life

needs to be set straight, so he asks Hepburn to return to him and pose as his loving wife during the campaign. Hepburn agrees but makes it clear that it will be on a temporary basis and that she won't stay beyond his election, if he ever gets the nomination. Tracy's campaign picks up steam and

Menjou, a powerful political boss, gives Tracy his substantial support. Also joining the campaign is Johnson, a successful newspaperman who takes a leave from his job to serve as Tracy's publicist. Tracy had begun the campaign with strong convictions, but as the campaign grind continues and as the

nomination becomes a very real possibility, he is soon making accommodations and compromises, most suggested to him by Lansbury and Menjou. Hepburn watches her husband alter his values to suit others, and she becomes upset by these developments. Her love for Tracy has started to return and she

can't bear to see him sell out. At a dinner party, she tells him that she thinks his advisers are morally bankrupt and urges him to distance himself from them and to retain his own sense of values. Tracy is moved by Hepburn's words and then on a radio broadcast, announces to the listening audience

that he is taking his name off the nominating slate because he feels he is not worthy of consideration on the voters' part. He then returns to Hepburn's open arms.

One of the joys of the Broadway hit upon which this film is based was that the authors changed the dialogue almost weekly to reflect what was happening in the news. In making the movie, the dialogue obviously was frozen, but many of the jokes and barbs were clearly aimed at events surrounding the

1948 presidential election pitting President Harry S. Truman against Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey. The film was originally set to star Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert, and when that casting fell through, Tracy was immediately picked for the male lead. Despite the fact that Hepburn had

turned down the same role in the play, she was anxious to do it opposite Tracy in the film and a deal was struck. There was much tension on the set between Hepburn and Menjou. During this time the government had begun to investigate the Hollywood community, searching for communists, a practice

Hepburn deplored and Menjou supported. This may have helped the picture, since the characters played by Hepburn and Menjou are adversaries throughout the film. The acting is first-rate as are the script, direction, and technical credits. Though it may seem somewhat dated to younger audiences, it

remains an entertaining and uplifting movie experience.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Spencer Tracy stars in this political drama as a millionaire aircraft manufacturer who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. A party outsider, Tracy isn't given much of a chance to capture the nomination. Further, his personal life is not the… (more)

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