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State of the Union (1948)

Spencer Tracy , Katharine Hepburn , Frank Capra  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Angela Lansbury, Van Johnson, Adolphe Menjou
  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Writers: Anthony Veiller, Myles Connolly
  • Producers: Frank Capra
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: August 22, 2006
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FVQLLQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,708 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "State of the Union" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

State of the Union is somewhat better as a Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn movie than it is as a Frank Capra picture. No doubt about it, these are two good roles for the smitten stars: Tracy is a self-made businessman reluctantly drafted into a dark-horse presidential candidacy; Hepburn is his estranged but whip-smart wife, who joins him on the campaign trail. Adding intrigue is the newspaper heiress (played with relish by baby-faced Angela Lansbury) who's the cause of their marital problems. She's also the one who convinces a longtime political horse-trader (Adolphe Menjou) to take up the campaign--which leads to a series of compromises for the candidate.

The Capra flavor is here, in the paeans to liberty and the American Way, and in the crackling pacing of dialogue scenes. Capra's affection for supporting players is also evident, with standout stuff from Menjou, Van Johnson (as a cynical aide), Lewis Stone, and Raymond Walburn. But the film's roots as a hit play (by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse) are a little too evident, and the film as a whole doesn't feel as bracingly Capraesque as the director's 1930s work. Having said that, the political satire is as relevant today as it was in 1948, although the rapid-fire topical references might be puzzling to non-campaign buffs. Note for bloopers collectors: Hepburn's name is spelled "Katherine" in the opening credits. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Academy Award-winning screen icons Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn shine in a classic film about marriage, politics and the pursuit of the American dream. When idealistic businessman Grant Matthews (Tracy) is chosen to run for the Presidency, he is caught between the ruthless ambition of a string-pulling newspaper owner and the integrity of his devoted wife (Hepburn). But just as Matthews embraces his ultimate goal, he realizes that he may have lost touch with the American people. Masterfully directed by three-time Academy Award winner Frank Capra (It's a Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night), State of the Union is a timeless crowd pleaser with a stellar supporting cast including Angela Lansbury, Van Johnson and Adolphe Menjou.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best political satires ever made! August 8, 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Since the gentleman before me does such a wonderful job in describing the movie's plot I won't go into that...but I did want to say that "State of the Union" is one of my all-time favorite "classic" movies. This highly underrated Frank Capra film ranks as one the best on-screen pairings of the ever-watchable Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. This film is just as relevant to today's political system as it was to its' own era a half-century ago, which only shows that there has never been a "golden age" of American politics. Tracy is superb in his role as a kind of sane and non-paranoid Ross Perot who hopes to "come from nowhere" and capture the 1948 Republican presidential nomination. Katherine Hepburn,Van Johnson and Adolphe Menjou turn in strong supporting performances, but this film really belongs to a very young (and very attractive) Angela Lansbury, as the ruthless owner of a newspaper publishing empire who will stop at nothing to make Tracy the Republican nominee - even if it means breaking up his marriage. One last bit of trivia - this film is loosely based on the real-life presidential campaign of Wendell Willkie, a young and dynamic New York businessman who really did "come from nowhere" to beat the bosses and win the 1940 Republican presidential nomination. He went on to lose a close race to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but the memory of his underdog victory against the "crooked politicians" inspired many Americans for years, including Katherine Hepburn and Frank Capra. So not only is "State of the Union" a great piece of political satire, it's also based on a real historical event - which just goes to show that our political system doesn't always have to run by the "bad guys". "State of the Union" is a superb film - don't miss it!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tracy and Hepburn team do a Capracorn film June 11, 2006
Format:DVD
Hollywood always seems to produce better Presidents and candidates for President than the real world, which is certainly the case with this 1948 Frank Capra film. Spencer Tracy plays Grant Matthews, who is persuaded by his mistress, powerful publishing heiress Kay Thorndyke, played to the hilt by Angela Lansbury, to seek the Republican nomination. Katharine Hepburn plays Mary Matthews, who joins her estranged husband to present a public portrait of a happy family. With the aid of the conniving political boss Jim Conover, played by Adolphe Menjou, Matthews begins the long road to the White House.

Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, you can still get a sense of the original three-act structure of the story. Act I in a Washington, D.C. bedroom in the house of political operative Jim Conover is where Matthews is convinced to try running for President and his wife is persuaded that this is as much a chance to save her marriage as it is to advance her husband's campaign. Act II in a hotel room in Detroit is where Matthews begins sacrificing principles for political expediency in his quest to gain the White House. Act III takes place in the Matthews home on the night of a national radio address, when everything finally comes to a head. From this perspective you have to credit scenarists Anthony Veiller and Myles Connolly with have done an excellent job of adapting the play to the screen. There are a lot of little jokes at the expense of the politicians in both parties in 1948, which will probably be lost on contemporary audiences; in fact, while on Broadway the political jokes were updated weekly.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tracy and Hepburn do a Capracorn film November 5, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Hollywood always seems to produce better Presidents and candidates for President than the real world, which is certainly the case with this 1948 Frank Capra film. Spencer Tracy plays Grant Matthews, who is persuaded by his mistress, powerful publishing heiress Kay Thorndyke, played to the hilt by Angela Lansbury, to seek the Republican nomination. Katharine Hepburn plays Mary Matthews, who joins her estranged husband to present a public portrait of a happy family. With the aid of the conniving political boss Jim Conover, played by Adolphe Menjou, Matthews begins the long road to the White House.
Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, you can still get a sense of the original three-act structure of the story. Act I in a Washington, D.C. bedroom in the house of political operative Jim Conover is where Matthews is convinced to try running for President and his wife is persuaded that this is as much a chance to save her marriage as it is to advance her husband's campaign. Act II in a hotel room in Detroit is where Matthews begins sacrificing principles for political expediency in his quest to gain the White House. Act III takes place in the Matthews home on the night of a national radio address, when everything finally comes to a head. From this perspective you have to credit scenarists Anthony Veiller and Myles Connolly with have done an excellent job of adapting the play to the screen. There are a lot of little jokes at the expense of the politicians in both parties in 1948, which will probably be lost on contemporary audiences; in fact, while on Broadway the political jokes were updated weekly.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
outstanding purchase
Published 6 days ago by Woodrow Bagg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a must see movie.
Published 20 days ago by Connie
2.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed it.
When I read a book devoting a discussion to Windle Wilkie I 'had to' see "State of the Union" as a takeoff on his run for the presidency. I thoroughly enjoyed it....BG
Published 23 days ago by Bob Graves
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Movie Describes Current Problems
The age old problem of elections controlled by power brokers is aptly portrayed in this movie with excellent acting by the stars. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joan Hutcheson
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Tracy-Hepburn Movies
This is a fantastic movie. Not only does it show the two stars at their best, but it features some other wonderful actors, including Angela Lansbury, Van Johnson and Adolphe... Read more
Published 5 months ago by BAM
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit dated but still quite interesting as an historical study of the...
Tracy and Hepburn are corny but great.
The directing is strong. Many of the political issues are still valid. Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. R. Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cast, great scenes
Yes, this is a fabulous political satire that is as timely today as it was back then. But there's special enjoyment to be had watching this cast of amazing actors doing their... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Laura S.
5.0 out of 5 stars As true then as it is today
Great film, superb acting and a story that is timeless. I recommend this movie to anyone who want to better understand the workings of politics.
Published 12 months ago by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars Perennial state of the union
This was a sensational movie in all respects. Great acting by acting greats like Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Angela Lansbury, etc. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Charles W. Paige
5.0 out of 5 stars Love all Katharine Hepburn movies!
I want to collect all of Katharine Hepburn's movies. She is my favoriate movie actress!!! I'm looking for great deals on her movies!
Published 18 months ago by Sandy Kay
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