Tag Archives: Hans Conried

The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947, George S. Kaufman)

The Senator Was Indiscreet is a fun enough little film. It’s little for a few reasons; sadly, the primary one is the budget. Enough of the film takes place in William Powell’s hotel room, one would think it’s a play adaptation.

The story is more ambitious than the finished film can realize. Powell’s a dimwit senator who lucks into being a Presidential contender (thanks to Peter Lind Hayes’s overzealous publicity man). Things go well for Powell, until his diary goes missing, leading to a panic.

Powell’s hilarious; he’s very much against type as the titular senator, who bumbles into things occasionally but also seems aware of his corruption. Indiscreet excels at being universal–it’s not about either party, it’s just about American politics in general. It’s sort of timeless, actually.

Second billed Ella Raines plays the one reporter Powell can’t dupe (and Hayes’s girlfriend) and, except for having almost nothing to do until the last third, is quite good. Ray Collins is great as the party man who has to deal with Powell. Hayes’s performance is more appealing than good.

Arleen Whelan has the other primary supporting role and she brings nothing to it. It might just be because the film’s too constrained to give her character proper treatment.

Director Kaufman tries hard with the reduced budget, but he can only do so much. The production values sometimes injure his inventiveness but he does a fine job keeping the picture moving.

Indiscreet‘s a good time…. with a great final joke.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by George S. Kaufman; screenplay by Charles MacArthur, based on a story by Edwin Lanham; director of photography, William C. Mellor; edited by Sherman A. Rose; music by Daniele Amfitheatrof; produced by Nunnally Johnson; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring William Powell (Senator Melvin G. Ashton), Peter Lind Hayes (Lew Gibson), Ella Raines (Poppy McNaughton), Ray Collins (Houlihan), Arleen Whelan (Valerie Shepherd), Allen Jenkins (Farrell), Charles D. Brown (Dinty), Whit Bissell (Oakes) and Hans Conried (The Bolshevik).


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The Story of Anyburg U.S.A. (1957, Clyde Geronimi)

The Story of Anyburg U.S.A. is an odd one. A small town decides to sue cars–personified here as cute, the windshields as big eyes–for all the auto accidents.

Sadly, Anyburg opens with a lot more energy–the narrator goes on and on about homicides on the highway and such and it doesn’t seem Disney at all.

A lengthy courtroom sequence, with some really bad rhyming dialogue, takes up the rest of the cartoon. As the prosecutor brings up witless witnesses, Anyburg‘s point is clear–people are responsible, not the cars.

Well, duh.

But were Americans in the fifties really willing to take responsibility for themselves? Anyburg makes it seem possible, if not probable.

The animation is fantastic–the courtroom scene’s dynamic, as are the car sequences–but it’s hard to get enthusiastic about the cartoon. Geronimi doesn’t bring any entertainment to the public service announcement.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Clyde Geronimi; written by Dick Huemer; animated by Bob Carlson, George Kreisl and John Sibley; music by Joseph Dubin; produced by Walt Disney; released by Buena Vista Film Distribution Co.

Starring Hans Conried (Prosecutor), Thurl Ravenscroft (Cyrus P. Sliderule) and Bill Thompson (Defense Attorney).


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