A scrupulously honest city bookkeeper is jailed for refusing to cover up small-town corruption, and is assisted in his defense by the spirit (and spirits) of American history. [ The Remarkable Andrew credits: Dir: Stuart Heisler/ William Holden, Ellen Drew, Brian Donlevy/ 80 min/ SciFi-Fantasy, Comedy/ Corrupt Government, American Revolution]
At the center of this story is a hard-working City Hall bookkeeper. He’s a wholesome, uncynical hero, the sort of person who always tries to do what’s right. One day he discovers an unexplained imbalance in the city’s accounts. His immediate superiors tell him not to worry about the imbalance. They try to explain it away with vague rationales. However, he sees it as his personal responsibility to make sure that the books are correct, and so insists on getting a fuller explanation.
The next thing you know, he’s fired and under investigation himself for embezzlement. He’s no match for the cabal of corrupt officials lined up against him. All seems lost. Suddenly the ghost of his personal hero, Andrew Jackson, arrives.
Jackson inspires the young man to fight the false charge. And as City Hall maneuvers to destroy the innocent bookkeeper, Jackson summons to his aid the ghosts of some of the Founding Fathers. They offer him legal advice, use their invisibility to investigate the case, and in the end save the day.
In most respects, this is good inspirational material — an antipolitician film and an upbeat, whimsical story highlighting positive American values of industry and integrity. You get the sense from The Remarkable Andrew that we live in a just universe, in which doing the right thing really does pay off in the end. You don’t see that kind of moral very often. This otherwise positive message is marred at one point during the trial scene, with a patriotic pitch for Roosevelt’s New Deal, but it’s a small point.
A young William Holden is delightful in the leading role.