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Advise & Consent (1962)

Advise & Consent (1962)

aka Advise & Consent

"Are the men and women of Washington really like this?"

Directed By: 
Details: 139 mins · English


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Small Robert Leffingwell
Small Senator Seabright Cooley
Small Senator Brigham Anderson
Small Senate Majority Leader
Small Senator Lafe Smith
Small Dolly Harrison
Small The President
Small The Vice President
Small Herbert Gelman
No_movie_poster Johnny Leffingwell
No_movie_poster Ellen Anderson
Small Senator Stanley Danta
No_movie_poster Senator Fred Van Ackerman
Small Senator Bessie Adams
Small Senator Orrin Knox
Small Senate Minority Leader
No_movie_poster Hardiman Fletcher


Small Otto Preminger Director
No_movie_poster Wendell Mayes Screenplay
No_movie_poster Sam Leavitt Cinematography
No_movie_poster Louis R. Loeffler Supervising Film Editor
No_movie_poster Lyle R. Wheeler Production Design
No_movie_poster Jack McEdward Production Manager
No_movie_poster Jerry Fielding Music
No_movie_poster Del Armstrong Makeup Artist
No_movie_poster Robert Jiras Makeup Artist
No_movie_poster Allen Drury Novel
No_movie_poster Eli Benneche Set Decoration
No_movie_poster Myrl Stoltz Hairstylist
No_movie_poster Henry Weinberger Unit Production Manager
Small Otto Preminger Production
No_movie_poster Allen Drury Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Louis R. Loeffler Editing


"Are the men and women of Washington really like this?"


The President of the United States (Franchot Tone) nominates Robert A. Leffingwell (Henry Fonda) as United States Secretary of State. The second-term President, who is ill, has chosen him because he does not believe that Vice President Harley Hudson (Lew Ayres)—whom both he and others usually ignore—will successfully continue the administration's foreign policy should he die.

Leffingwell's nomination is controversial within the United States Senate which, using its advice and consent powers, must either approve or reject the appointment. Both the President's party, the majority, and the minority are divided. Majority Leader Bob Munson (Walter Pidgeon), the senior senator from Michigan, loyally supports the nominee despite his doubts, as do the hard working Majority Whip Stanley Danta (Paul Ford) of Connecticut and womanizer Lafe Smith (Peter Lawford) of Rhode Island. Demagogic peace advocate Fred Van Ackerman (George Grizzard) of Wyoming is especially supportive. Although also of the majority party, President pro tempore and "curmudgeon" Seabright "Seeb" Cooley (Charles Laughton) of South Carolina dislikes Leffingwell for both personal and professional reasons, and leads the opposition.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee appoints a subcommittee, chaired by majority member Brigham Anderson (Don Murray) of Utah, to evaluate the nominee. The young and devoted family man is undecided on Leffingwell. Cooley dramatically introduces a surprise witness, Herbert Gelman (Burgess Meredith). The minor Treasury clerk testifies that he was briefly in a Communist cell with Leffingwell and two others at the University of Chicago. Leffingwell denies the charge and effectively questions Gelman's credibility, but later tells the President that he had committed perjury and that Gelman was essentially correct. He asks the President to withdraw his nomination, but he refuses.

Cooley identifies another member of the cell, senior Treasury official Hardiman Fletcher. He forces him to confess to Anderson, who tells Munson. Despite personal lobbying by the President, the subcommittee chairman insists that the White House withdraw the nomination due to Leffingwell's perjury or he will subpoena Fletcher to testify. The President angrily refuses but the majority leader admits that the White House will soon have to nominate another candidate. Anderson delays his committee's report on Leffingwell but the President sends Fletcher out of the country, angering the senator.

Anderson and his wife (Inga Swenson) receive anonymous phone calls from Van Ackerman's men warning that, unless the subcommittee reports favorably on Leffingwell, information about what happened with "Ray" in Hawaii will appear. A worried Anderson visits a fellow Army veteran, Ray Shaff, in New York. Shaff admits that he sold evidence of a past homosexual relationship between the two. Hudson, Anderson's friend Smith, and others attempt to counsel the troubled chairman but, unable to reconcile his duty and his secret, Anderson commits suicide.

The President denies to Munson and Hudson knowing about the blackmail. He tells the majority leader that he is dying and that Leffingwell's confirmation is vital. Munson criticizes Cooley for opposing the nominee but not exposing Fletcher, forcing Anderson to bear the pressure alone. Anderson's death, nonetheless, permits the subcommittee and the Foreign Relations Committee to proceed with the nomination. Both report favorably to the full Senate.

In the Senate Chamber Cooley apologizes for his "vindictiveness". While he will vote against Leffingwell and his "alien voice", the senator will not ask others to follow. Munson, moved by Cooley's action, cites the "tragic circumstances" surrounding the confirmation. Although the majority leader will vote for Leffingwell, he will permit a conscience vote from others. Hudson's quorum call and the majority leader's refusal to yield the floor prevent Van Ackerman from speaking, and Munson asks for the "Yeas and Nays", ending debate. The majority leader tells the senator that were it not for the Andersons' privacy the Senate would censure and expel him. Van Ackerman angrily leaves the chamber before the vote.

Munson's side is slightly ahead until Smith unexpectedly votes against Leffingwell and the majority leader prepares for the Vice President to break the tie in the nominee's favor. Hudson receives a message from the Senate Chaplain. At that point he is no longer the Vice President (he is President) and realizes he cannot cast a tie-breaking vote. He announces that he will not break the tie, causing the nomination to fail, and that the President has died. As he leaves with the Secret Service, Hudson tells Munson that he wants to choose his own Secretary of State. The film ends as Munson makes a motion to adjourn due to the former president's death.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1962-06-06 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1962-09-24 : Sweden

Theatrical : 1962-10-12 : West Germany

Theatrical : 1962-10-26 : Finland

Theatrical : 1963-09-02 : Spain

Theatrical : 1963-02-04 : Denmark

2012-08-05 : Switzerland