Vincent J. Donahue, better known as TV director, helmed ”Sunrise at Campobello,” a conventional, middlebrow biography of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and legendary wife, Eleanor Roosevelt.
The screenplay is based on the Broadway hit play, in which Bellamy also played the lead, winning a Tony Award for it.
The first chapters depict the statesman’s fight against and then victory over infantile paralysis, and his battle with his political opponents.
Later on, Roosevelt (now played by Ralph Bellamy) is stricken with a debilitating illness that threatens his very career. But his courageous, indefatigable wife, Eleanor (Greer Garson), helps him not only to regain his strength but also become one of America’s most influential and beloved presidents.
Hume Cronyn, better known as stage actor (and husband of the actress Jessica Tandy) co-stars as F.D.R.’s political strategist Louis Howe.
For her performance, Greer Garson (MGM’s biggest star and Louis B. Mayer’s favorite actress in the 1940), in one of her last screen roles, received her seventh and last Best Actress Oscar nomination.
Jean Hagen plays Missy Le Hand, Anne Shoemaker is the president’s mother Sara, and Alan Bounce is Al Smith, the presidential candidate.
This Warner standard-issue, inspirational biopicture was produced by Dore Schary, previously top honcho of MGM. The film is the kind of solemn “factual” fare cherished by Oscar voters, which explains its multiple nominations
Oscar Nominations: 4
Actress: Greer Garson
Art Direction (Color): Edward Carrere; George james Hopkins
Costume Design (Color): Marjorie Best
Sound: George R. Groves
Oscar Awards: None
The winner of the Best Actress Oscar was Elizabeth Taylor for “Butterfield 8.” “Spartacus” won the Art Direction and Costume Oscars. “The Alamo” won the Best Sound Award.
Running time: 123 Minutes.