FDR-The Alternative History or "Gabriel over the White House"
There are several short videos from this film at this Turner Classics website, that doesn't quite work correctly.
The first event not mentioned in Wikipedia shows the fictional president Judson C. 'Judd' Hammond taking the oath of office. And for the only time he does it as prescribed by the constitution, without the extra "so help me God."
I will take advantage of Wikipedia's generous creative commons copyright rules to quote extensively from their article:
When the film opens, U.S. President Judson C. 'Judd' Hammond (Huston) is variously described as "a Hoover-like partisan hack" or "basically a do-nothing crook, based on, to some extent, Warren G. Harding." Then he suffers a near-fatal automobile accident and goes into a coma. Through what Portland State University instructor Dennis Grunes calls "possible divine intervention," Hammond (an "FDR lookalike") miraculously recovers, emerging "a changed man, an activist politician, a Roosevelt."I have a friend who was born in 1926, who when we talk about the current House resisting Obama's programs, says with anger and sincerity, "He should arrest them, and put them in a concentration camp." He's no dummy, having a law degree from Columbia and been chief counsel for the military in various location in Germany and the South Pacific; having been an Naval Officer at the age of 18, he had to be tough then and still is.
President Hammond makes "a political U-turn," purging his entire cabinet of "big-business lackeys." When Congress impeaches him, he responds by dissolving the legislative branch, assuming the “temporary” power to make laws as he "transforms himself into an all-powerful dictator." He orders the formation of a new “Army of Construction” answerable only to him, spends billions on one New Deal–like program after another, and nationalizes the manufacture and sale of alcohol.
The reborn Hammond's policies include "suspension of civil rights and the imposition of martial law by presidential fiat." He "tramples on civil liberties," "revokes the Constitution, becomes a reigning dictator," and employs "brown-shirted storm troopers" led by the President's top aide, Hartley 'Beek' Beekman (Tone). When he meets with resistance (admittedly, from the organized crime syndicate of ruthless Al Capone analog Nick Diamond), the President "suspends the law to arrest and execute 'enemies of the people' as he sees fit to define them," with Beekman handing "down death sentences in his military star chamber" in a "show trial [that] resembles those designed to please a Stalin, a Hitler or a Chairman Mao," after which the accused are immediately lined up against a wall behind the courthouse and "executed by firing squad." By threatening world war with America’s newest and most deadly secret weapon, Hammond then blackmails the world into disarmament, ushering in global peace.
The film is unique in that, by revoking the Constitution, etc., President Hammond does not become a villain, but a hero who "solves all of the nation's problems," "bringing peace to the country and the world," and is universally acclaimed “one of the greatest presidents who ever lived.” The Library of Congress comments:
“ The good news: he reduces unemployment, lifts the country out of the Depression, battles gangsters and Congress, and brings about world peace. The bad news: he's Mussolini.
I don't know whether the current real President saw the film of the fictional 34th President, and that's why he decided that he would not go around congress during the debt issue standoff. But the concept of a liberal dictator is not out of America's consciousness. What is surprising is that President Elect Roosevelt loved this film, and being a writer himself (editor of the Harvard Crimson) added some touches to the actual script.
The film showed President Hammond when elected as the persona of the Previous three Republican Presidents, but especially the unfeeling Hoover, who was congenitally unsympathetic to the suffering of the masses. But in the film it was the same man Hammond, who had an accident and strange semi supernatural transformation from Hoover to FDR.
I would love to see the full film, and just learned of its existence from two opposite sources Amy Goodman and Jonah Goldberg, both with a different take. Here's the final word on the film:
The good news: he reduces unemployment, lifts the country out of the Depression, battles gangsters and Congress, and brings about world peace. The bad news: he's Mussolini.