The President Vanishes Film Details
Overview: Like the anonymous novel (generally credited to Rex Stout) upon which it is based, the photoplay tells how a peace-loving President prevents his country from being stampeded into a European war.
Review: The issue of fascism and should America go to war is the focus of this film. The subject could be taken from today’s headlines instead of headlines of 80 years ago. However, this film tends to drag in parts and the story is way too convoluted and unbelievable when viewed in this millennium. President Craig (Arthur Bryon, whom I keep mistaking for Arthur Q. Bryan, the voice of Elmer Fudd) is an anti-war president. Everyone wants him to go to war. So what is he to do? He disappears. Today this would bring the country to its knees, but not in this goofy film. Edward Arnold (who gets star billing, but shows up at the 35 minute mark) is declared in charge. Now I love Edward Arnold, but I found him ridiculous in this role. He is the Secretary of War, but has by his own admission “never shot a gun”. He brings in a bunch of rag tag characters and starts interrogating them like a bunch of shoplifters. He’s in charge, but all he does is a lot of yelling and pacing. How they got around the Constitution and made him in charge is never explained. Also in this mess is Secret Service Agent Paul Kelly, who gives his sweetie a good sock in the jaw so she won’t go blabbing to Edward Arnold that he knows about the Prez’ whereabouts. (It was okay to slug your girl back then.) It seems he’s in on the president’s disappearance. They want people to think that these people called the “gray shirts” (a/k/a Fascist or union organizers) have kidnapped the president and that will turn the tide in the president’s favor. (The beginning of the film shows the Gray Shirts going all Ferguson on the city.) Well, it works. The leader of the Gray Shirts is killed by Kelly and everyone who was in on it (Kelly, his sweetie, the dopey grocery boy, played by Andy Devine,the President’s aide and the First Lady) all congratulate themselves for pulling off this chicanery, therefore avoiding war and the world is safe for democracy. Lots of stock footage takes up about 1/4 of the film, which also made it almost unwatchable. If you like Edward Arnold and events that may have been pulled out of today’s headlines, this is the movie for you. However, it may be had to find, because Paramount (Now NBC Universal) refuses to let people view their old film library and prefer to keep their gems (and non gems) locked away in a vault. I found my copy on Ebay and it wasn’t the best copy in the world. How I long for the late late late show again where I could see old movies at their best (Or their worst.)
Duration: 80 min
Also known as: Президент исчезает,Pânico na Casa Branca,The President Vanishes,Mercaderes de la muerte,Strange Conspiracy