The Virgin President (1969)

Article 3823 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-22-2012
Posting Date: 2-1-2012
Directed by Graeme Ferguson
Featuring Severn Darden, Richard Neuweiler, Andrew Duncan
Country: USA
What it is: Political satire

A cabal of political advisers decides to assassinate the president, and then to use their powers of persuasion to control his successor, the president’s son who has been locked away in a bunker since he was four.

This movie takes place in the future, thus giving it a certain amount of science fiction content. It also features a ghost and a seance, thus giving the movie some horror content as well. Overall, it’s a comic political satire in black and white and what seems to be an incredibly low budget. The most striking credit in the movie is that the writing is credited to the actors, implying that the movie is improvisational in nature, but I can’t help but notice that IMDB credits only director Graeme Ferguson and star Severn Darden in that capacity, implying that it isn’t quite as improvisational as it seems. Still, it does feel improvised at times; the opening sequence makes you feel that you’re catching the film in the process that it’s being made, and there’s at least one on-camera crack-up to be seen. It’s a pretty amusing movie, but it’s perhaps played a little too broadly for its satire to work, though I can’t help but admire that the premise that this president’s destruction of the USA ends up having a very different definition of “destruction” than is usually thought, and it ultimately becomes the punch line of the movie. Outside of Darden, the only actors I recognized from elsewhere were Paul Benedict and Peter Boyle. Director Ferguson mostly works in the documentary field with an emphasis on movies about space exploration.

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