Morally dubious politician undergoes a change of heart after he is elected as President during a depression, setting up a populist dictatorship.
One of the most unintentionally scary films ever. Likely more influential at the time than we realize...
- Author Filibuster
- Came Back Wrong: Hammond is different after he wakes up.
- Character Filibuster
- Day of the Jackboot: A good thing, from the movie's perspective, and some people at the time including Franklin D. Roosevelt, who said it "would do much to help."
- The Mafia: They're violently suppressed by the government and shot with the Statue of Liberty in the background after show trials in military courts.
- Mind Screw: (If it weren't for the title and some speculation of Malloy, we'd have very little idea what happened to Judd...)
- Mood Whiplash
- Our Presidents Are Different: President Hammond embodies almost all the tropes. He starts off as a Strawman Buffoonesque Scheming Corrupt Playboy Personable President until he suffers a car accident and is possessed by Archangel Gabriel and becomes the Iron President and also Evil.
- State Sec: The "Federal Police". Apparently the archangel Gabriel favors summary executions.
- Title Drop
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Not only the message of the film, but supported by many people in Real Life at the time. When FDR was elected, the headline from The New York Times read "To Dictatorship if Necessary."
- Vocal Dissonance: The gangster Nick Diamond has an Eastern/Southern European accent that doesn't fit with his outward Al Capone-style tough guy air. Another character subtly lampshades this, noting how far Diamond has traveled from his roots (Truth in Television, as quite a few Prohibition-era gangsters were European-born.)
- What's Up, King Dude?: This is the case with Hammond, leading to a Narmtastic scene where the Mafia does a drive-by shooting at the White House steps.