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Her Honor the Governor (1926)

Her Honor the Governor (1926) R-C Pictures. Distributor: Film Booking Offices of America. Presented by Joseph P. Kennedy. Director: Chet Withey. Adaptation-Continuity: Doris Anderson. Story: Hyatt Daab, Doris Anderson. Camera: Andre Barlatier. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Carrol Nye, Greta Von Rue, Tom Santschi, Stanton Heck, Boris Karloff, Jack Richardson, Charles McHugh, Kathleen Kirkham, William Worthington. 7 reels.

A Copy of this film is held by The Library of Congress (35mm, Swedish intertitles).

Poster for Her Honor the Governor A poster for the film (Thanks to John Moon for the scan). Click thumbnail for larger view
A lobby card from Derek Boothroyd. Lobby Card for Her Honor the Governor
Clipping for Her Honor the Governor An unidentified clipping about the film

See also a Lantern Slide advertising this film from the collection at the Cleveland Public Library

Review from Variety
Review from Photoplay
Viewing comments

Review from Variety, July 21, 1926


F.B.O. Production, presented by Joseph P. Kennedy. Story by Hy Dash and Weed Dickerman. Directed by Chet Withey. Pauline Frederick starred. At Warner's New York, week July 17. Running time, 66 minutes.

Adele Fenway Pauline Frederick
Bob Fenway Carrol Nye
Marian Lee Greta Von Rue
Richard Palmer Tom Santschi
Jim Dornton Stanton Heck
Snipe Collins Boris Karloff

Melodrama of love and politics with a woman Governor placed in the spot where the old man usually was.

In some respects except for this change the story resembles a play at Webster's some years ago.

This is, however, good melodrama for the average picture audiences away from the big towns, with Pauline Frederick playing the mother role to perfection.

The question now remains whether or not Miss Frederick will retain her box office draw. With the middle aged and the more elderly roles she undoubtedly still continues to have something of a hold, but a couple of flappers in the audience at Warner's expressed themselves adversely Saturday night.

Miss Frederick looks as good as ever on the screen, and that is going some, for she always was a mighty good-looking woman. When it comes to acting she has it so far over a lot of those the flappers nuts over that one could never make comparisons.

The story opens with Miss Frederick as Adele Fenway making her inauguration speech on taking over the office of Governor of a state. The senior state senator Jim Dornton (Stanley Heck) lets her know immediately he is going to be governor in fact and that she is merely a figurehead. But when she turns the tables on him and blocks the passage of one of his pet measures he turns on her. His first trick is to find the first wife of her late husband and let it be known that the state has a Governor who is an unwed mother, for the husband forgot to go through the formality of a divorce. All part of the frame-up.

When the Governor's son seeks out the Senator to demand an apology a fight follows and later, when one of those involved in the scrap is found killed, the boy is accused of murder. While the mother-governor is fighting for her boy's life, she is impeached, but at the last minute the real murderer is discovered, likewise the records of the divorce of the first wife, and from then on all is smooth sailing.

It is a fairly good story and built as it is on woman's activity politically it has at this time a special value with "Ma" Ferguson breaking into print so often that they might almost hook this one up with "Ma."

The cast, while not particularly strong in names outside of Miss Frederick's and Tom Santschi, has a couple of fairly good players in it. The juvenile lead is capably handled by Carrol Nye and Boris Karloff does a very good drug addict heavy.


Review from Photoplay, from an undated clipping


PAULINE FREDERICK steps out in front again in a picture built around the safest and surest theme that ever graced a stage or movie plot. We are paging the reference known as mother love. It is not conceived on the simple yet grandiose scale of "Stella Dalla." Indeed, it takes a wide cut out of melodramatic cloth--and defies logic in a number of instances.

Yet, through the intelligent playing of Miss Frederick--who contributes her emotions as well as her poise and restraint, the film takes on a certain appeal.

Elected to the office of chief executive of her state, she runs afoul of politicians who frame her when she refuses to "yes" them. They make her son appear illigitimate and succeed in impeaching her. And when the boy tries to defend his mother's good name, one of the skulking politicians is accidentally killed. THe boy is convicted of first degree murder in a scene which is easily the high light of the picture.

Old stuff, you say? Right. Yet it contains its moments--Film Booking Offices

Note, this is mistakenly paired in print with a still from Devils Island

Viewing comments

This is a very entertaining little film, unpretentious, and a feast for Frederick fans. It could have been written especially for her, as it seems to combine elements of her other great roles. There is the professional woman holding her own with the men, the anguished mother, the courtroom scenes. Even some of the shot compositions of the mother, son, and fiancee seem lifted right out of Smouldering Fires. In addition, the early parts of the film are in a rather light vein, allowing her some wry humor (particularly in the scene where her rival politicians burst in on her dusting her office and don't recognize her). A dog lover all her offscreen life, she has a chance here for some charming scenes with an adorably ugly bulldog who has a rather sizable part. The Library of Congress print has Swedish intertitles, so without a translation it is difficult to follow the specifics of the political maneuvering, though the action gives you pretty good idea what's going on. On the other hand, one is spared what would have doubtless been a lot of sexist remarks in the titles. Tom Santschi is genial as her love interest, Carrol Nye is embarrassingly inept in the courtroom scenes (it's interesting to watch him and Frederick in the same shots as she acts rings around him). A special treat is Boris Karloff chewing the scenery as the twitchy "slave to cocaine"--the only Swedish words I could understand.

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Last revised, December 24, 2008