KISSES FOR MY PRESIDENT (1964)
Article 4377 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Curtis Bernhardt
Featuring Fred MacMurray, Polly Bergen, Eli Wallach
What it is: Comedy
When a woman is elected President of the United States, her husband has trouble adjusting to the role of First Lady.
The fantastic content is obvious here; the movie hinges on the fact that a woman is elected to the office of President of the U.S., and though some might disagree, there are those that would say that it puts it in the realm of social science fiction. However, as such, it is a disappointment that the movie does not seriously address the repercussions of such an event; it may hint at on occasion, but it’s far more interested in the discomfiture felt by the husband at having to take on the role of “first lady”. And, truth to tell, sometimes it’s not even very interested in that, as some of the humorous situations seem to have little to do with that subject matter. There is the wisp of a plot involving a corrupt South American country and an antagonistic senator, but most of the movie feels rather formless. Fred MacMurray is trying his best here, but the long-winded and often contrived script doesn’t give him much help. There are a handful of funny moments; my favorites include the daughter’s boyfriend picking her up at the White House, and the scene where everybody tries to help MacMurray deal with his jitters over appearing in front of a camera and end up leaving him intoxicated. My favorite surprise in the movie was when I recognized that a Russian ambassador was being played by an uncredited John Banner (Sgt. Schultz on “Hogan’s Heroes”). The ending scene especially feels convenient and forced. Though I wouldn’t say the movie is bad, I do feel it is a disappointment and a missed opportunity.