The political career of Woodrow Wilson is chronicled, beginning with his decision to leave his post at Princeton to run for Governor of New Jersey, and his subsequent ascent to the Presidency of the United States. During his terms in office, Wilson must deal with the death of his first wife, the onslaught of German hostilities leading to American involvement in the Great War, and his own country's reticence to join the League of Nations.Written by
Shannon Patrick Sullivan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you want to dramatize Wilson's life, you can either approach it as either a tragedy or a hagiography, and Fox chose the hagiographic route. Considering the era and that the only biography at the time was the uncritical one by Ray Standard Baker, this is hardly surprising. Thank God, however, they cast the unknown Alexander Knox rather than an established star such as Gary Cooper for the title character; when you see the film you can't imagine anyone else playing the part.
This movie proves that the Hollywood era could do films with some integrity beyond the standard fare from MGM or Warners. Twentieth-Century Fox's Zanuck was the only mogul who had the guts to make a motion picture as expensive as this, with an unknown in the lead, and on a President who, unlike say Teddy Roosevelt, strikes many people as a cold fish. I love this film, despite its simplifying of history and its wartime propaganda because it's very special in many ways. There are plenty of movies like JEFFERSON IN PARIS or YOUNG MR. LINCOLN or ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS or THE PRESIDENT'S LADY etc., but aside from NIXON, Zanuck and King's WILSON seems the only theatrical film that dramatizes a President's life while he served in office. For those of you who find it undramatic, think again: it's a film to cherish
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