The Remarkable Andrew

One of the odder products of the Golden Age of Hollywood, The Remarkable Andrew (1942) was a comedy fantasy in which Andrew Jackson’s ghost, played by Brian Donlevy, comes back to Earth in order to aid Andrew Long, portrayed by a very young William Holden, fight political corruption.  Andrew Jackson had pledged to protect the sons of one of Andrew Long’s ancestors who saved the life of Jackson at the battle of New Orleans.  Virtue is triumphant, the corrupt politicians are defeated, with the help of Jackson and the ghosts of other American heroes, and Andrew Long even gets the girl.

The screenplay was written by Dalton Trumbo, a Communist.  It was based on the novel of the same name written by Trumbo and published  in early 1941.  The novel was written before the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, and Trumbo, slavishly following the party line, has Jackson warning against American involvement in the War.

Time Magazine in its sardonic review of the novel on February 3, 1941 noted Trumbo’s rigid adherence to the Communist party line:

Its plot is about the return of the ghost of General Andrew Jackson to help an admirer. Trumbo’s General Jackson agrees with Theodore Dreiser right down the line: 1) Europe’s wars are no concern whatever of the U. S.; 2) the U. S. has little interest in the British Fleet; 3) Great Britain is not a democracy; 4) if Hitler can’t even cross the English Channel, he can’t cross the Atlantic; 5) U. S. concern with fifth columnists is hysteria; 6) Ger many is not “an international outlaw”; 7) the U. S. didn’t help Loyalist Spain, therefore shouldn’t help any other country; (8) the U. S. Government is deceiving the electorate, etc.

General Jackson’s opinions need surprise no one who has observed George Washing ton and Abraham Lincoln zealously following the Communist Party Line in recent years. Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, John Marshall and Jesse James are also cast for bit parts in Trumbo’s production. If the devil can quote Scripture, surely an irritated screenwriter can dip into The Federalist. A chapter of The Remarkable Andrew is devoted to the remarkable Dalton’s attempt to outwit charges of Communism and pacifism with tedious parodies of Red-baiting.

After the Soviet Union was invaded, the party line switched to favoring American involvement in the War, and so did Trumbo.  Needless to say, in the film Jackson uttered not a syllable against American involvement in the conflict.

One can only imagine what Andrew Jackson in the world to come thought about the whole thing!

Published in: on February 7, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Remarkable Andrew  
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