The Remarkable Andrew (1942)

THE REMARKABLE ANDREW (1942)
Article #1762 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-10-2006
Posting Date: 6-9-2006
Directed by Stuart Heisler
Featuring Brian Donlevy, William Holden, Ellen Drew

When an accountant attempts to call attention to an imbalance in the public books, he finds himself the target of a trumped up charge of extortion by corrupt politicos. However, he has a friend trying to help him out of his predicament – the ghost of Andrew Jackson.

The John Stanley guide from which I drew this title describes it as a propaganda piece, and perhaps it is. However, despite the 1942 date on the movie, it is not wartime propaganda in the least; in fact, the only reference to the war mentions it in terms of something that the United States is currently not involved in. No, the target here is small-town political corruption, and the screenplay was wriiten by Dalton Trumbo (based on his novel), who would later be blacklisted in Hollywood.

I think the movie works best as a comedy. Given Andrew Jackson’s volatile personality, he’s probably not the best choice for a historical figure to help you solve your personal problems, especially when his recommendations usually involve hangings or duels. It is, however, highly amusing in this regard, even if it does end up relying in the most cliched of ghost comedy traditions by having much of the humor revolve around the fact that the hero is the only one who can see the ghost. The scene in which Andrew Jackson summons up the greatest law team in history is a definite highlight, as we get the ghosts of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Chief Justice John Marshall and Benjamin Franklin, as well as an unknown private from the revolutionary war and a highly anomalous Jesse James. As a drama, it’s less effective; even give a law team such as this one, I find it really hard to believe that the courtroom ploy used by our hero would actually have the results it has in this movie. Still, William Holden does a find job as the beleagered bookkeeper, and Brian Donlevy has a field day as Andrew Jackson. This is a unique, rather odd comedy, to be sure.

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