MovieChat Forums > 36 Hours (1964) Discussion > who was president in initial release?

who was president in initial release?


Maybe it's a trick of memory, but when I saw this film in its first release in 1965, I could swear the president referred to in the newspaper headline was not Henry Wallace but Tom Dewey. Am I just remembering wrong, or is it possible the scene was changed (maybe a relative of Dewey's took exception to it?)

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I think it's just a trick of memory. The film has never been altered in any way. From the standpoint of June, 1944, positing Wallace as the next President was probably likelier than making it Dewey. But I think a President Dewey would have made for a far more interesting headline!

The problem I had with that 1949 paper is the photo they showed of "ex-President Roosevelt" arriving in Warm Springs. The photo was one showing FDR several years earlier than 1944, when he was still vigorous looking. By 1944, FDR had shrunk and become almost gaunt physically, a sign as we now know of his approaching death, and no one in June of '44 would have believed he could have miraculously recovered his former appearance five years later, at the age of 67.

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I think it's supposed to be 1950, not 1949, so your point about FDR is well taken. Certainly if Garner's character was aware of his ill health, he should have been suspicious. But remember he's being overwhelmed with "futuristic" detail and may not be thinking clearly.

It would have been a nice touch if after he discovers the paper cut, he takes a longer, closer look at the photo and curses his stupidity.



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You're right, it would have been cool for Pike (Garner) to have taken a closer look at that newspaper photo. D'oh!

Was it 1950? I forget. Not that it matters much. But one person the paper would never say was President was Harry Turman, who in June, 1944, was just the junior Senator from Missouri and more than a month away from his surprise nomination for VP, though his name was being floated as a dark horse possibility. Maybe President James Byrnes?!

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The fake edition of The Stars and Stripes he sees when he first awakens is dated Monday, May 15, 1950. So the Germans figured he should have believed that nearly six years had passed since early June, 1944.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. -- A. Einstein

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Yes, I've seen the film since that post and have long since been reminded it was indeed 1950. But as I said three years ago, in the scheme of things it doesn't make much difference, since barring death or resignation, the President in office from January 20, 1949 would be the same one in office in 1950, and it was all fantasy anyway.

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But as I said three years ago, in the scheme of things it doesn't make much difference, since barring death or resignation, the President in office from January 20, 1949 would be the same one in office in 1950

No need to repeat yourself. I wasn't arguing with you, just furnishing correct info for anyone who wants it.

and it was all fantasy anyway.

Not sure what that has to do with anything. (If you actually meant fiction rather than fantasy, fiction should, ideally, be internally consistent, I believe. That's what matters.)

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. -- A. Einstein

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Ghoul, one problem with that is they would then have to explain what he's realizing by having him say it aloud to someone.
Related note: In the Goofs section for this movie is one noting that the paper also mentions the United Nations. The Goof writer notes it did not exist in 1944. They forgot that the paper is trying to convince Pike it's 1950, and that FDR often referred to the Allies as the United Nations during the war and had said one of his goals was the post-war creation of just such a group. So, not a goof.

I have seen enough to know I have seen too much. -- ALOTO

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During the Second World War, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated talks on a successor agency to the League of Nations, and the United Nations Charter was drafted at a conference in April–June 1945, about a year after D-Day. This charter took effect 24 October 1945, and the UN began operation.

So German intelligence almost certainly would have known in mid-1944 about plans to form the United Nations organization, and Garner's character might have known also.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. -- A. Einstein

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The document that later became known as the United Nations Declaration was signed in January 1942, and the Allies were also called the United Nations even during the war. All of this was announced publicly, so the term and basic idea of a new postwar international organization were broadly known.

However, it was not until the Dumbarton Oaks conference, held from August to October, 1944, that the formal name of the proposed organization was decided. This was well over two months after Pike's incarceration, so neither he nor anyone else, including any intelligence agency, could have known what the organization's name was (or rather, would be). Still, given the term's use over the two preceding years, "United Nations" was not an unreasonable choice for the name of the organization and more importantly it was a term Pike would have recognized.

Even so, one wonders whether he wouldn't have said something to the effect of, "So, I see they actually formed that organization?" when he read of it in the fake Stars and Stripes.

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Even so, one wonders whether he wouldn't have said something to the effect of, "So, I see they actually formed that organization?" when he read of it in the fake Stars and Stripes.

I think that would have been an unnecessary and forced monologue. His initial shock focused him on the date of the newspaper, and he immediately put it down. The last thing he'd be worrying about is the UN's coming to fruition.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. -- A. Einstein

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Yes, movieghoul, I think it's a trick of memory. I bet you were influenced by the photos of a smiling newly-elected Harry S Truman holding aloft the November 3, 1948, Chicago Tribune with the banner headline:
DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN

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Probably so. Also, assuming FDR had survived a fourth term, the 1948 election would have been an open one without an incumbent and Dewey might have had an easier path to victory.

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Wallace not Dewey also, FDR might have looked about the same when Pike went off to war, say early '42?

"It's the system, Lara. People will be different after the Revolution."

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Wallace not Dewey also, FDR might have looked about the same when Pike went off to war, say early '42?


Yes, but Pike would certainly have seen newspaper photos or newsreels showing FDR in the intervening two years. The filmmakers should have used a 1944 photo.

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The term-limiting 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution wasn't passed by Congress until 1947, and wasn't ratified until 1951. So no one in 1944 would have known about an open office.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. -- A. Einstein

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Quite correct about the 22nd Amendment. There would have been no reason in 1944 to assume that the President in 1948 (FDR, in this case) was term-limited and that the 1948 election was therefore necessarily for an open office.

On the other hand, it probably made some sense for the Germans to postulate an ex-President Roosevelt. This may have helped cement the idea of it being 1950 and been a bit more realistic than having FDR serving a fifth term. The goal was to make Pike believe it was a very different world, so having a new president, even so disastrous a one as Henry Wallace, might have somehow sounded more believable.

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Again, no one is arguing. I was merely furnishing some accurate historical information. But I'm sure that George Seaton would appreciate your validation of his rather obvious choice.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. -- A. Einstein

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The whole point of the newspaper was to reinforce that it's 1950. For the headlines and stories, all they cared about is that they would be considered reasonable to someone from 1944. Wallace was veep then, prez now, no problem.

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Wallace was veep then, prez now, no problem.

Well, statistically, it was actually unlikely that Wallace would get elected. Even as of today, 65 years later, only five U.S. Vice Presidents have been elected President on their own. The others became President only because of the death or resignation of the President.

Garner's character might well have known that it is rare for a Veep to be elected on his own. And those historical data were certainly available to the Germans. So someone else might actually have been a better choice to pick for the fake newspaper.

This sentence is false. -- The Zurich Gnome

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