Kisses for My President

Kisses for My President is a 1964 comedy film directed by Curtis Bernhardt, starring Fred MacMurray and Polly Bergen. Leslie McCloud (Bergen) makes history when she is elected the first female President of the United States. However, her husband Thad McCloud (MacMurray) is less enthusiastic.[1]

Kisses for My President
1964 Theatrical Poster
Directed byCurtis Bernhardt
Produced byCurtis Bernhardt
Written byClaude Binyon (writer)
Robert G. Kane (screenplay)
StarringFred MacMurray
Polly Bergen
Eli Wallach
Music byBronislau Kaper
CinematographyRobert Surtees
Edited bySam O'Steen
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
December 4, 1964 (1964-12-04)
Running time
113 min.
CountryUnited States

It was the last feature directed by Bernhardt, whose career stretched back to the silent era.

Plot summary

The United States elects its first female President, Leslie Harrison McCloud (Polly Bergen). She and her husband (he is never called "first gentleman;" he is called "first lady" a few times early in the film, but typically "president's husband") Thad (Fred MacMurray), move into the White House with their daughter Gloria (Ahna Capri) and son Peter (Ronnie Dapo).

Immediately, the new President is too busy for her husband and family as she deals with a powerful opposition Senator Walsh (Edward Andrews), and a Central America dictator Raphael Valdez Jr. (Eli Wallach).

Thad attempts to find something meaningful to do as the "first lady". Much time is given to the husband's chagrin at being assigned an ultra-feminine bedroom and office within the White House. It is clear that no one, especially Thad McCloud, has given any thought to how a President's husband might fit into the scheme of things.

Enter Doris Reid Weaver (Arlene Dahl), Thad's former flame and now an international business woman. She wants Thad back—and during a seductive visit, offers to make him Vice-President of her cosmetics company as bait. Leslie smells Doris's perfume on her husband that night, and confronts him.

Leslie has asked him to show visiting dictator Valdez around Washington, with disastrous results, as Thad brawls with a male diner at a burlesque show they are all attending. To further complicate things, the first daughter is running around town with a very unsuitable boyfriend and using her position to get out of scrapes with the police. Son Peter has become a bully, using his Secret Service men for protection as he terrorizes everyone in his school—including the principal.

The President's husband ultimately finds an important role in a Cold War subplot that resembles the rise and fall of Senator McCarthy, when Thad proves that Senator Walsh blindly supports the Latin American dictator for reasons that are not patriotic. Senator Walsh aggressively portrays the lady President as weak in resisting Communism because she has the humanitarian integrity to refuse to give dictator Valdez more "foreign aid" money for his personal enrichment while he does nothing to alleviate poverty in his country. The Russians are also co-funding Valdez to prevent him from being influenced exclusively by the United States. As soon as the President drops her support for the dictator, the Russians do so as well.

Leslie then discovers that she is pregnant, and resigns the presidency to devote herself full-time to her family.



Bosley Crowther of The New York Times panned the movie on account of corniness. He commented, "...All that one can say is that we hope the first woman to become President brings along a more amusing husband than Mr. MacMurray and a more imaginative team of writers than Mr. Binyon and Mr. Kane." He also criticized Bernhardt for taking "a dim view of the prospect of a woman as President. It wouldn't be funny! That's what his picture says."[2]

See also


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