With the possibility that former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may run for President in 2016, there is a classic movie that will run on June 30th on Turner Classics that already tackled that topic, a woman President for the United States.
In 1964, Kisses for my President, opened at theatres around the country. Made by Warner Brothers and starring Polly Bergen as the President and Fred MacMurray as the First Gentleman. It’ s a fun exercise about the what ifs of a woman sitting in the Oval Office and the perplexities her husband runs into as the first, First Gentleman of the land.
Leslie McCloud(Bergen) has just been sworn in as President and her husband, Thad(MacMurray), and their two children, Gloria(Anna Capri) and Peter(Ronnie Dapo) are being ushered into the First family’s Living Room. There is a humorous moment when the first couple discover that the President has a very masculine decorated bedroom and the First Gentleman has a very feminine bedroom. That scene can be viewed here.
As the plot continues, Leslie is extremely busy dealing with issues and doesn’t have as much time for her husband or her children. There is also a Senator Walsh(Edward Andrews) who covets the White House for himself and he doesn’t like the fact that there is a woman President. He’s out to foil Leslie’s Presidency. There is also a South American dictator( Eli Wallach), Valdez, who arrives in Washington to ask for money. Leslie asks Thad to show the dictator around town which turns into a misunderstood news story about a bored First Gentleman whooping it up with Valdez. Senator Walsh is only too happy to use this event as a way to get at Leslie and chip away at her power. The two children who feel ignored by their parents begin to get into trouble and then there is Doris Reid(Arlene Dahl). Doris is a wealthy businesswoman who lives in Washington and just so happens to be Thad’s first love! She slinks her way into the White House, putting 2 and 2 together: wife is too busy, Thad is lonely and doesn’t know what his role is, so Doris makes a plan to get Thad alone and to try and reignite their past romance, which she reminds Thad that Leslie stole him from her.
Here are two more clips from the film: MacMurray, in his pjs, accidentally gets lost looking for the dining room and he encounters tour groups. Clip One. The second clip is Arlene Dahl starting to zero in on MacMurray. Clip Two.
Kisses for my President is pure comedy. It’s not a serious drama and perhaps audiences in 1964 wouldn’t want to see the topic of a woman president presented in any other way? The film was conceived by Robert G. Kane and he also wrote the screenplay with Claude Binyon. Curtis Bernhardt produced and directed the film. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the film will air June 30th at 9:00 am EST/8:00 am CST, so be sure to set your dvr to record it. It is available to buy from TCM’s Shop, and it is available through Amazon and their instant rent. Youtube has two clips from the film that can be viewed here and here.