Cast & Crew
Edwin C. Hill
Edwin C. Hill
Compiled from newsreels, this documentary chronicles the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from his early childhood to his first thirty days as President of the United States. The film details Roosevelt's European ancestry, his tranquil childhood in New Hyde Park, New York, his days at Harvard University, his law course at Columbia University, his marriage to Eleanor Roosevelt, his entry into politics, his days as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson, his work during World War I and his rise in the Democratic Party councils. Various political campaigns, including Roosevelt's unsuccessful bid for the vice-presidency in 1920, his close victory as governor of New York in 1928 and his landslide re-election in 1930 are seen. The 1932 presidential campaign is shown, as are Roosevelt's inauguration and first legislative undertakings as president. Footage of a prohibition symposium, including speeches by prohibition supporters, is included. The problems facing the new administration, including the farming situation, are discussed. In addition, the film shows scenes of Roosevelt at home with his family, exercising in his swimming pool, and visiting his summer home in Warm Springs, Georgia.
According to Motion Picture Herald, this documentary was compiled from Universal Newspaper Newsreels by Universal film editor Allyn Butterfield. Film Daily and Variety note that very little of the film's footage actually features Roosevelt, but rather depicts events surrounding his political career. World War I especially is chronicled, according to Variety and Film Daily. Edwin C. Hill, story and narration writer as well as narrator, was a well-known radio political commentator. Although not mentioned specifically in reviews and synopses, Roosevelt's early legislative activities included the proclamation of a national bank holiday and the federal licensing of banks, which inhibited hoarding of funds and encouraged the flow of money back into the financial system. Variety gives the film's running time as 70 minutes, but this length is probably an error. Variety also speculates that The Fighting President was Universal's attempt to beat M-G-M at a similar compilation film. It is not known if the M-G-M film was, in fact, produced.