The Phantom President, instead, is a rather sophisticated musical that, 85 years after its original release, offers 21st-century viewers proof that corrupt, contemptuous politics is nothing new. A group of bureaucratic hacks, lead by Prof. Aikenhead, believes that the super-rich Theodore K. Blair would make a splendid president, despite him being a businessman with zero political experience and possessing the charm of lumpy mattress. Impossible!
On the verge of giving up, Aikenhead and his colleagues stumble upon Doc Varney, a charming, smooth-talking snake-oil salesman who is Blair's exact double. Varney is immediately enlisted into taking Blair's place on the campaign trail, with the understanding that he will disappear once Blair is elected. But fate -- and the scriptwriters -- have other plans in store for all involved.
|Blair and his doppelganger -- or vice-versa.|
|Especially after she finds out he's a conman.|
Despite George M. Cohan having written some of the most popular stage musicals of his time, there's no way he could have come up with anything as sophisticated as The Phantom President's score, written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart during their brief spell in Hollywood before returning to the more worldly Broadway.
|"And I'll build a wall around Manhattan!"|
|You want modern? There's even a Times Square |
Jumbotron 60 years before it really happened.
And as for the climax... well, if America and its politics were anything like it's portrayed here, it's astonishing that anyone was elected president in 1932.
All things considered then, The Phantom President would make a fine half of a double-bill with another 1932 release, the acerbic Washington Merry-Go-Round. But they'd probably be too sharp for today's audiences. For them, Alec Baldwin wearing a blonde wig is the height of cutting satire.
From The Phantom President: "Someone Ought to Wave the Flag". For reasons unknown, Cohan performs it in blackface. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1iWNdS1Kfg)