Alexander Knox
Director: Henry King Cast: Alexander Knox
Alexander Knox
, Charles Coburn
Charles Coburn
, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Geraldine Fitzgerald
Henry King

DVD (Full Frame)



Producer Darryl F. Zanuck had high hopes that Wilson would immortalize him in the manner that Gone With the Wind did for David O. Selznick. The notion of bringing the life story of Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States, to the big screen was a labor of love for Zanuck, and accordingly the producer lavished all the technical expertise and production values he had at his disposal. Though Alexander Knox seems a bit too robust and overnourished for Wilson, his is a superb performance, evenly matched by those of Ruth Nelson as Wilson's first wife Ellen, Geraldine Fitzgerald as second wife Edith, Thomas Mitchell as Joseph Tumulty, Sir Cedric Hardwycke as Henry Cabot Lodge, Vincent Price as William Gibbs McAdoo, Sidney Blackmer as Josephus Daniels, and the rest of the film's enormous cast. The story begins in 1909, a time when Wilson is best known as the head of Princeton University and the author of several books on the democratic process. Urged into running for Governor of New Jersey by the local political machine, Wilson soon proves that he is his own man, beholden to no one-and that he is dedicated to the truth at any cost. From the governor's office, Wilson is nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate, an office he wins hands-down over the factionalized Republicans. The sweetness of his victory is soured by the death of his wife Ellen, but Wilson ultimately finds lasting happiness with Edith Galt. When World War I breaks out in Europe, Wilson vows to keep America out of the conflict, despite pressure from such political foes as Henry Cabot Lodge (who is depicted as a thoroughly unsympathetic power broker). After being elected for a second term, however, Wilson finds it impossible to remain neutral, especially in the wake of the Lusitania sinking. Reluctantly, he enters the war in April of 1917. Deeply disturbed by the mounting casualties, Wilson decides that, after the Armistice, he will press for a lasting peace by helping to organize a League of Nations. Unfortunately, the isolationist congress, urged on by Lodge and his ilk, refuses to permit America's entry into the League. His health failing, Wilson nonetheless embarks on a whistle-stop tour, imploring the public to support the League of Nations and Wilson's 12-point peace program. During this campaign, he is felled by a stroke, whereupon Mrs. Wilson begins acting as liason between the president and the rest of the country (the commonly held belief that Edith Galt Wilson virtually ran the nation during this crisis is soft-pedalled by Lamar Trotti's script). All hopes for America's joining the League of Nations are dashed when, in the 1920 election, the Republicans gain control of the White House. The film ends as the ailing but courageous Woodrow Wilson bids farewell to his staff and walks through the White House doors for the final time. Idealistically ignoring the negative elements of the Wilson regime (notably his attitudes toward racial relationships), Wilson is not so much a biography as a paean to the late president. Though too long and overproduced, the film survives as one of Hollywood's sturdiest historical films of the 1940s. However, audiences did not respond to Wilson as Zanuck had hoped; the film was a terrific flop at the box office, so much so that it was for many years forbidden to speak of the project in Zanuck's presence. Still, Wilson garnered several Academy Awards: best original screenplay, best color art direction (Wiard Ihnen), best color cinematography (Leon Shamroy), best sound recording (E. H. Hansen), best film editing (Barbara McLean) and best color set decoration (Thomas Little).

Product Details

Release Date: 02/26/2013
UPC: 0024543873983
Original Release: 1944
Rating: NR
Source: Fox Mod
Presentation: [Full Frame]
Time: 2:33:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alexander Knox Woodrow Wilson
Charles Coburn Prof. Henry Holmes
Geraldine Fitzgerald Edith Wilson
Thomas Mitchell Joseph Tumulty
Cedric Hardwicke Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge
Ruth Nelson Ellen Wilson
Vincent Price Williams Gibbs McAdoo
William Eythe George Felton
Mary Anderson Eleanor Wilson
Ruth Ford Margaret Wilson
Sidney Blackmer Josephus Daniels
Madeleine Forbes Jessie Wilson
Stanley Ridges Dr. Cary Grayson
Eddie Foy Eddie Foy
Charles Halton Col. House
Thurston Hall Senator E.H. ("Big Ed") Jones
J.M. Kerrigan Edward Sullivan
James Rennie Jim Beeker
Katherine Locke Helen Bones
Stanley Logan Secretary Lansing
Marcel Dalio Georges Clemenceau
Edwin Maxwell William Jennings Bryan
Clifford Brooke David Lloyd George
Tonio Selwart Von Bernstorff
John Ince Sen. Watson
Charles Miller Sen. Bromfield
Anne O'Neal Jennie
Arthur Loft Secretary Lane
Russell Gaige Secretary Colby
Reginald Sheffield Secretary Newton D. Baker
Robert Middlemass Secretary Garrison
Matt Moore Secretary Burleson
George Anderson Secretary Houston
Robert Barron Secretary Meredith
Paul Everton Judge Westcott
Arthur Space Francis Sayre
Roy Roberts Ike Hoover
Frank Orth Smith
Dewey Robinson Worker
Francis X. Bushman Barney Baruch
Ferris Taylor Actor
Ken Christy Actor
Guy D'Ennery Actor
Antonio Filauri Actor
Hilda Plowright Jeannette Rankin
Joseph J. Greene Chief Justice White
Gus Glassmire Actor
Ralph Dunn Robert La Follette
Davison Clark Champ Clark
Isabel Randolph Actor
Jess Lee Brooks Actor
Gladden James Actor
Frank Dawson Actor
Larry McGrath Actor
Ralph Linn Actor
Russ Clark Actor
Ed Mundy Actor
Aubrey Mather Actor
Jesse Graves Actor
Dell Henderson Actor
John Ardell Actor
George Mathews Actor
John Whitney Actor
Harry Tyler Actor
William Forrest Actor
Harry Carter Actor
Jessie Grayson Actor
Gibson Gowland Senator
Reed Hadley Usher
Sam Harris Gen. Bliss
Charles Anthony Hughes Actor
Cy Kendall Charles F. Murphy
Jamesson Shade Secretary Payne
Dutch Schlickenmeyer Actor
George Macready McCombs

Technical Credits
Henry King Director
James Basevi Art Director
Paul S. Fox Set Decoration/Design
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Rene Hubert Costumes/Costume Designer
Wiard Ihnen Art Director
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Barbara McLean Editor
Alfred Newman Score Composer
Guy Pearce Makeup
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Leon Shamroy Cinematographer
Lamar Trotti Screenwriter
E. Clayton Ward Sound/Sound Designer
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer

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