It has admittedly been a bunch of years since I have watched Kisses for my President, a 1964 movie starring Fred MacMurray and Polly Bergen, but when it was on TCM recently, I used the handy dandy DVR to record it so I could enjoy it at my leisure.
The film is an adorable comedy about the first woman president of the United States, which would be Bergen’s character of Leslie McCloud. Bergen was a great choice for the role. She has comedic timing while also being a tough cookie.
For me, though, it is MacMurray’s superb characterization of a man doing the duties of First Lady that is the charm. He has a lot of adjusting to do, that’s for sure. One of my favorite scenes is early on when he gets locked out of the dining area by accident and ends up trying to dodge White House tours and such. It’s pretty funny stuff.
The part I am not that crazy about concerns the First Man having to entertain a visiting dictator. It is a bit over the top, but that fits the fact that the movie is not to be taken too seriously. It is definitely a comedy, but I have never really been all that entertained by this part of the story. Naturally, it leads to a bit of a media embarrassment after he accidentally punches the dictator.
Eli Wallach plays the dictator, which does not exactly lend to realism, either. The man is a great actor, and he plays the goofball, money hungry dictator wonderfully. I am just not impressed with the character itself.
There are two kids involved in the story, and while I don’t really think much of Ahna Capri’s portrayal of the teenage daughter, I did enjoy Ronnie Dapo as the eight year old son. Dapo also played Arnold on The Andy Griffith Show. He was great at those nagging kid parts.
The beauty of the film overall is the relationship of the McClouds and how they deal with the burdens of the Presidency as well as the role of the First Man. On the whole, it works, as long as you remember the era in which it was filmed.