The President's Mystery (1936)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller

The President's Mystery (1936) Poster

A millionaire with a crumbling personal life comes up with an idea on how he can disappear, start a new life without anyone knowing who he is and be able to take all his money with him.



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27 November 2017 | MartinHafer
| About as subtle as a nudist at a Baptist picnic!
The background for this film is given in a prologue. Apparently, the President himself (FDR) challenged several writers to come up with a story that is believable about a rich man disappearing and staying incognito despite having millions. This movie, apparently, is the result of the challenge and Franklin Roosevelt is listed among the writers of this film! Sadly, the story is NOT believable and seems like a politically motivated bit of public relations. For this, and that is all, the story is mildly interesting.

James Blake (Henry Wilcoxon) is a mega-millionaire who has little to do with himself as he's loaded with money and his holding run themselves. One day, he goes on a fishing trip and discovers a small town in trouble thanks to industrialists like himself. So, he decides to pretend to be just a regular Joe and moves to the town in order to re-start its dead canning industry.

Unfortunately for Blake, his less than loving wife has been accidentally killed...and folks think HE is responsible. This means that remaining in disguise might be a good idea...though he doesn't have access to his immense fortune.

The film comes off like a Depression era fairy tale--with some stereotypes and obvious messages are inserted liberally. I think had the story been less heavy-handed and more believable, it could have worked, as one of the best films of the 1930s was "The Millionaire"...a film from 1931 starring the wonderful George Arliss. It's also about a man who is essentially like Blake--who goes back to work and gets his hands dirty because being a millionaire is so dull and non- productive.

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