Hail (1973)

HAIL (1973)
aka Hail to the Chief

Article 3562 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-23-2011
Posting Date: 5-16-2011
Directed by Fred Levinson
Featuring Dan Resin, Richard B. Shull, Dick O’Neill
Country: USA
What it is: Political satire

The Secretary of Health becomes concerned when his close friend, the President, starts having paranoid delusions and creates a private army to suppress dissenters.

This political satire suffers somewhat from self-aggrandizement (the opening crawl) and heavy-handedness (the Christ-walking-on-water sequence comes to mind). It’s also, thanks to an emphasis on hippies, more than a little dated. It does, however, manage to be one of the darkest of satirical comedies, and the fact that the movie does eventually promote the assassination of the President as a solution, there’s no doubt it was subversive enough that it had to sit on the shelf for a few years before any distributor would touch it. Nevertheless, it does have effective moments and occasionally seems relevant, and the ending is quite memorable. And it does leave one wondering what would happen if the paranoia of being in high office were to spiral out of control. All in all, it’s flawed and one-sided, but interesting, and it’s best to remember that it IS a satire.

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