Don't look for "13 Hours" to dent Hillary's campaign

The closest any movie came to af­fect­ing the course of a pres­id­en­tial cam­paign may have been Frank Capra’s State of the Uni­on. It came out in the middle of the 1948 race, premier­ing in Wash­ing­ton at an event sponsored by the White House Cor­res­pond­ents’ As­so­ci­ation and draw­ing both Capra and Pres­id­ent Harry Tru­man.

Point­ing to that premiere, Vari­ety in 1949 called State of the Uni­on the “film that changed his­tory.” Said an ad­vance man for Tru­man: “The most im­port­ant film of 1949—if im­port­ance lies in in­flu­en­cing people and events—was Frank Capra’s State of the Uni­on.” It was in­flu­en­tial be­cause it showed how “a pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate beats the polit­ic­al bosses by go­ing over their heads with a dra­mat­ic ap­peal to the people.” Tru­man watched the film re­peatedly and, con­ten­ded Vari­ety, “he did ex­actly what the movie can­did­ate did—he went to the people.”

If that’s true, State of the Uni­on stands alone. For most movies about polit­ics, can­did­ates just hope not to be dam­aged. As John Glenn said in 1983 when asked about The Right Stuff, “If Pres­id­ent Re­agan sur­vived Bed­time for Bonzo, I guess I can sur­vive.”