Movie Review: Kisses for My President (1964)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1964 political comedy starring Fred MacMurray and Polly Bergen.

Synopsis: Backed by the nation's housewives, Leslie McCloud rises through the political ranks to become the United State's first female president. At first, her husband, Thad, is supportive of his wife's political ambitions. However, as they move into the White House, he quickly feels out of place taking over the duties usually handled by the First Lady.

Review

I came across this film on one of our movie channels a couple days ago and, mostly because it starred Fred MacMurray (who is from my hometown of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin), I thought it looked intriguing enough to record and watch it later. I was finally able to do that over the past couple of lunches and, overall, I thought it was a good movie.

When I first saw the description for this film, I figured it would be a little dated as far as attitudes toward women are concerned. And, as it turns out, I was partially right about that. But, even when that was taken into account, the movie still proved to be a fun film to watch.

I think the reason I enjoyed this movie as much as I did was, even though there were some jokes about a male "First Lady," the film surprisingly didn't focus on that. Instead, the main focus was on MacMurray's interaction with an adventure-loving (and scheming) South American dictator and the scandal that erupts after a misunderstanding at a strip club.

In fact, when the movie did focus on the fact he was a man in a traditionally-female role, it was more about his relationship with his wife (Bergen) and his inability to spend more than a few minutes with her at a time than anything else. And, that's something that is easy to relate to regardless of what job she (or he) has.

Probably my only real complaint about this movie is Bergen's portrayal of his wife/the President. I thought she came off kind of cold and heartless throughout the movie. She invites him to lunch then ignores him, she is quick to criticize him after his strip club incident without taking two seconds to let him explain what happened and, at times, acts as though he is beneath her.

While I think the writers were trying to emphasize the stresses of her new position, I found it was kind of hard to like her very much, even though she does ultimately (and predictably, given when this movie was made) decide to put her marriage/family first. As a result, I thought the scenes that included her weren't quite as funny as maybe they were intended to be.

Final Opinion

As I mentioned, some parts of this movie are a bit dated. However, it did turn out to be a fun film overall and is one I would recommend watching if you're getting sick of politics as usual.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 01/25/2017, StevenHelmer
 
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