The Senator Was Indiscreet

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The Senator Was Indiscreet
The Senator Was Indiscreet poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by George S. Kaufman
Produced by Nunnally Johnson
Written by Edwin Lanham (story)
Charles MacArthur
Starring William Powell
Ella Raines
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates December 26, 1947
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Senator Was Indiscreet is a 1947 comedy film starring William Powell as a dim-witted U.S. senator who decides to run for president, with Ella Raines as a reporter interested in the detailed diary he has kept about all the political misdeeds of his colleagues. Powell won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his performance.

The film also was known as Mr. Ashton Was Indiscreet (see photo).


The inept, somewhat slow-witted U.S. senator Melvin G. Ashton wants to run for President of the United States. His eager publicist, Lew Gibson, encourages him with various attention-gaining stunts, disappointing his girlfriend Poppy McNaughton, a reporter at a local newspaper.

When Ashton arrives to his hotel in New York City, The Westbrook, he is asked by his publicist to attend a ceremony and accept a membership into the Cherokee native tribe, for purely publicity purposes. Craving good publicity, Ashton eagerly agrees to do this.

Fred Houlihan, a political boss, tries to stop Ashton's grand plans and asks him to step down as a presidential candidate. Ashton refuses to do so, but in a long tirade speech he publicly and consistently denies running for president. The stunning Valerie Shepherd arrives to the city and decides to join the campaign. Lew becomes attracted by the stunning Valerie Shepherd, who and moves his circles.

Poppy is appalled by senator Ashton's baffling incompetence, and breaks up with Lew after Ashton's speech. A series of articles about Ashton's road to the presidency is soon published in the papers, and Houliham again pays a visit to Ashton to convince him to stay out of the run for president.

Ashton blackmails Houlihan to keep silent, telling him he keeps a diary of all the political actions talen within the party during the last thirty years. After this he starts a tour across the country to gain voters. He becomes a pupular candidate and soon returns to speak at the Madison Square Garden in New York City.

After his speech at the Garden he discovers that his precious diary is missing. Ashton believes the communist hotel employee Karl has stolen it, but Lew suspects Poppy of snatching it to publish its contents.

Ashton's former secretary, Robert Oakes, is soon found carrying the diary, but the man insists someone else stole it before he got hold of it. Lew finds out that Valerie's beau Bill Fisher is a political enemy of Ashton's and has started a petition to investigate the senator in his home state.

From various clues, Poppy deducts that Valerie must have stolen the diary. Houlihan again asks Ashton to step down from the presidential race, but Ashton demands they find him another job as a condition, since he has no regular income to rely on. It turns out to be a challenge to find the senator another means of supporting himself, but he is eventually appointed commissioner of a professional sports league. It is a well paid job and the senator is quite pleased with his deal.

Poppy manages to retrieve the diary from Valerie, but loses it to Lew, who tells Ashton the good news. Houlihan then tries to convince Ashton to come back into the race for presidency, but Ashton hesitates. Lew then decides that the truth should be revealed and gives the diary back to Poppy, who can publish the content. When it is, both Ashton and his bosses are forced to escape the country and take refuge on a South Sea island, where Ashton soon becomes the chief.[1]


Myrna Loy, Powell's frequent screen co-star, had an uncredited cameo appearance.

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