Genre Guesstimation – Wilson (1944) – Encore Review


The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s genre has been chosen by Nick Rehak of French Toast Sunday and we will be reviewing our favorite Biographical Films.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of May by sending them to bionick@movierob.net

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Nick!

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Biographical Films……

“[Reading a newspaper clipping] A weak and imbecile man, the weakest I’ve ever knew in a high place. If I wanted to paint a despot, a man perfectly regardless of every Constitutional right of the people, I would paint his hideous form.”- Woodrow Wilson

“That’s outrageous!” – Eleanor Wilson

“When he goes out of office next March, the whole country except thieves, cowards, public plunderers, office holders, and traitors will rejoice.” – Woodrow Wilson

“[Slamming down a coffee pot] Woodrow, that’s the last straw! You’ve got to do something about it. They’ve no right to say such things about you, even to win an election.” – Edith Bolling Galt

“Oh, they weren’t talking about me. That’s what they said about Abraham Lincoln when he was running for reelection in 1864.” – Woodrow Wilson

Number of Times Seen – Twice (7 Oct 2013 and 11 May 2021)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – Biography of President Woodrow Wilson who went from being the President of Princeton to become the Governor of New Jersey and then found himself in The White House.

My Take on it – Being a fan of the history of the Presidency, this is a film that I wanted to see for quite a long time.

I finally got a chance to see it about 7 and a half years ago, and really enjoyed it.

When Nick chose this theme for this month, I immediately knew that I wanted to revisit the movie in order to get a newer, fresher perspective on it.

I’m so glad I did!

This was such an amazing film to rewatch.

They do such a wonderful job creating a very Presidential feel for the whole story and Alexander Knox gives perhaps the finest performance of his career in the title role.

The film was supposedly a box office flop, yet still managed to garner 10 Oscar nominations.

It was able to win half of them – Writing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound Recording and Film Editing.

Unfortunately, it lost Best Picture, Director, Actor, Special Effects and Music.

In addition, Knox was able to win a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

The story is quite compelling throughout and the way that things are told works so well in helping establish why Woodrow Wilson was among the best Presidents to ever sit in the Oval Office.

The dialogue is superbly written and gives us such an impression of the way that politics worked over a Century ago.

The choice to only focus on Wilson’s rise to the Presidency as he turned to politics late in life works really well in establishing how effective he as in both his family, professional and political life.

The film utilizes newspaper articles to show how events progressed over the years and that also helps the story move along at a great pace.

The supporting cast is also great with Charles Coburn,  Geraldine Fitzgerald, Thomas Mitchell, Cedric Hardwicke and Vincent Price all adding so much to the character of the film and the political ramifications of everything that transpires here.

I’m not quite sure why this film was such a flop at the box office.

It is now one of my favorite films from 1944!

Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Three years later when Darryl F. Zanuck stood on the Oscar podium picking up his Best Film Academy Award for Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), he said “I should have won this for Wilson (1944)”. (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Absolutely! Such a great biopic that really captures the tone and spirit of the

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)

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