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The County Chairman 1935
Description: Based on George Ade's enjoy which, in part, was based on an incident in a 1902 election in Wyoming, with women's-right-to-vote testing a huge role. Here, Jim Hackler, local party-boss in a Wyoming county, has to decide to do what's right and lose the election, or what's wrong and victory it.
Released: 11 Jan 1935 Director: John G. Blystone Writers: George Ade (play), Gladys Lehman (screenplay), Sam Hellman (screenplay) Actors: Will Rogers, Evelyn Venable, Kent Taylor, Louise Dresser Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
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The County Chairman Reviews:

The another reviews do a nice job of explaining the plot but omit two of the greatest lines from any Rogers movie which illustrate his ability to comment on politics of his day or of ours. Rogers is at his relaxed greatest as the wily rural county chairman.Rogers' candidate is young. This effects in many folks commenting and complaining about his age. As Rogers travels with the young boy to drum up votes he gotta deal with the older voters reluctance to vote for a youngster."Well, I know he's young but he's getting over it everyday." "There ain't nothing wrong with him that the calendar can't fix!"Two of my favorites. Sadly the movie has not been released on DVD.


"The County Chairman" is a typical Will Rogers vehicle: a drama rather than a comedy, but with plenty of occasions for Rogers to offer his folksy wisecracks (which were usually written by Rogers himself, rather than his scriptwriters). The plot of "County Chairman" deals with Rogers's favorite topics - politics - and he's in fine form here.Rogers plays Jim Hackler, the county chairman for his political party in Wyoming. The film is attentive to avoid establishing which party Hackler is working for, but Rogers himself once noted: "I am not a member of any organised political party. I'm a Democrat." Hackler is running the political campaign of his idealistic young law partner Ben Harvey (played by the bland Kent Taylor). Harvey's election rival is crooked politician Elias Rigby (well-played by Berton Churchill, who specialised in testing crooked bankers and crooked politicos). The rivalry between Hackler and Rigby is personal: years ago, Rigby married the girls whom both boys loved ... and actually Rigby's daughter Lucy (Evelyn Venable) is in love with Ben Harvey.Although candidate Harvey is honest, his campaign manager Hackler is accustomed to dirty politics. He discovers some "dirt" on Rigby which, if made public, would throw the election to Harvey ... but which would also harm innocent people. Could Hackler say the truth and allow the chips fall where they may ... or could he run a clean campaign and run the risk that his crooked enemy might win? This is a Will Rogers movie, so the ending is obvious.The most surprising thing about this 1935 film is that Will Rogers makes a joke about the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians. This was the twentieth century's first example of genocide, an happening which the rest of the globe tried to forget as later as possible. A several years later, Hitler would be emboldened to enact his own genocidal disclaimers precisely **because** America and the European allies had stood back and allowed the Turks to slaughter the Armenians. It's astonishing to hear this (deliberately) forgotten happening mentioned in a Hollywood movie, especially as the springboard of a joke.On a private level, I was very distracted by the name of Will Rogers's hero in this movie: Jim Hackler. It kept reminding me of Jim Hacker, the main hero in the BBC sitcom "Yes, Minister", which is also a political satire. Will Rogers had a reputation for biting political commentary ... but you'll search much more bite (and more wit) in any episode of "Yes, Minister" than you'll search in "The County Chairman". I'll rate this film 4 points out of 10 ... and one mission is for whichever one of the screenwriters had the courage to mention the Armenian genocide. I suspect it was Walter Woods, an unjustly forgotten scenarist who did uncredited work on this film. Back in silent days, Woods wrote the script for one of Will Rogers's greatest films, 'One Glorious Day', in which Rogers was bedeviled by a monster called Eck, short for Ectoplasm. This might explain why a folksy rube in 'The County Chairman' is called Uncle Eck.



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