Advise and Consent (1962)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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The first of Allen Drury's "all names changed to protect the guilty" political novels, Advise and Consent was brought to the screen by producer/director Otto Preminger. The film hinges upon the appointment of Robert Leffingwell (Henry Fonda) to Secretary of State. Leffingwell has been hand-picked by the President (Franchot Tone), meaning that there'll be a battle on the Senate floor between adherents of and opponents to the current administration. Among the participants are veteran Dixiecrat Charles Laughton, freshman Senator Don Murray and powerseeker George Grizzard. Burgess Meredith also shows up as a man who is brought into the Senate to "prove" that Leffingwell is a communist. To neutralize Murray, Grizzard threatens to dredge up a homosexual incident in Murray's past, which results in the latter's suicide. Advise and Consent is a slow and old-fashioned film, coming to life only when Laughton and Grizzard are on screen--and in the climax, in which the fate of Leffingwell's appointment is left in the hands of acting President Lew Ayres.
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Henry Fonda
as Robert Leffingwell
Charles Laughton
as Sen. Seabright Cooley
Don Murray
as Sen. Brigham Anderson
Walter Pidgeon
as Senate Majority Leader
Peter Lawford
as Sen. Lafe Smith
George Grizzard
as Sen. Fred Van Ackerman
Gene Tierney
as Dolly Harrison
Franchot Tone
as The President
Lew Ayres
as The Vice-President
Burgess Meredith
as Herbert Gelman
Eddie Hodges
as Johnny Leffingwell
Paul Ford
as Sen. Stanley Dante
Inga Swenson
as Ellen Anderson
Paul McGrath
as Hardiman Fletcher
Will Geer
as Senate Minority Leader
Betty White
as Sen. Bessie Adams
Russ Brown
as Nightwatchman
Malcolm Atterbury
as Sen. Tom August
Edward Andrews
as Sen. Knox
Sid Gould
as Bartender
J. Edward McKinley
as Sen. Hanson
Bill Quinn
as Sen. Hendershot
Tiki Santos
as Sen. Kanaho
Raoul de Leon
as Sen. Velez
Tom Helmore
as British Ambassador
Hilary Eaves
as Lady Maudulayne
Michele Montau
as Celestine Barre
Chet Stratton
as Rev. Birch
John Granger
as Ray Shaff
Rene Paul
as French Ambassador
Janet Jane Carty
as Pidge Anderson
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Critic Reviews for Advise and Consent

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

The settings are powerfully like real. A Senate hearing room, the Senate itself, a party home in immediate Washington and varying apartments plus a place in DC suburbia all have the look of genuineness.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Top Critic

Grips like a vice thanks to the skill with which Preminger's stunning mise en scène absorbs documentary detail.

February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

There are many other dull and naughty characters in this brisk whirl on the Washington merry-go-round.

Full Review… | June 11, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

You can't hire a judge without breaking a few nerves. This insightful political film is terrific.

Full Review… | August 15, 2011
Cinema Sight

Viewing it today, its quaintness and timidness make it seem out of step with the even more insidious contemporary times.

Full Review… | February 22, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A poignant, biting expose of the American political process, boasting a large ensemble of terrific actors (Fonda, Laughton), Preminger's saga set the trend of future, more sensationalitsic political melodramas like Fail Safe and All the President's Men.

Full Review… | December 14, 2007

Audience Reviews for Advise and Consent

A brilliant examination of American politics, blind hypocrisy, idealism, and self-interest. For my money, it's one of Don Murray's finest performances. The sets and locations are excellent, and as best as I can tell, at least some are authentic. (The film's trailer indicates that certain scenes were actually filmed in a real senate committee room!) Altogether, an excellent and exciting film.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

A great political drama full of marvelous performances from all involved. Ahead of itsâ(TM) time in the examination of political witch hunts and blackmail, as well as other taboo subjects very rarely examined in film at that time. A fantastic script and good direction make it both enthralling and tense.

Jeffrey Meyers
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

The prospect of a great ensemble cast, Otto Preminger directing and tale of political ugliness surrounding the confirmation of a new Secretary of State should be enough to pull anyone in. Unfortunately all the dust Advise and Consent kicks up in the first act doesn't really stay in the air too long and by the time a lot of the things that were set up early on in the movie finally happen in the last 20 minutes, you can't really bring yourself to care or be surprised. The cast was good despite many of them (Henry Fonda included) disappearing like drunken party guests in search of someplace to pass out and the rest not seeming entirely necessary at all. Overall, Advise and Consent overstays its welcome after shifting its focus too many times and overstaying its welcome for about a half hour. Not too bad (Charles Laughton stole the show) but there are reasons you don't hear about this one too often...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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