Film: 6127

Politics | 1950 | Sound | B/W


Senator Taft of Ohio 1950's

Opening with drawing of Life Magazine and a cameraman just below it. Cut to open book with drawing of Robert Taft surrounded by smaller pictures on the left-hand leaf, and the text on the right titled 'The Case for Taft'. The title of the film then appears over the whole book.
Film starts with Robert Alfonso Taft at the breakfast table with his wife perusing the newspaper. Taft is in the process of gaining his presidential nomination from the Republican party. This is his second attempt, ably supported by his wife, Martha Bowers Taft. The senior senator from Ohio makes some pencil notes on a sheet of papers.
We get an outside shot of his residential home on the outskirts of the city. Sky farm, a fifteen room house on sixty acres of land. Still photo of a young Bob Taft in white formal dress for a young child. In 1909 his father, William Howard Taft, bacame the 26th president of the USA. We see a line of civilians and American army personnel watching a march past by the army outside. They march in thin, wide columns. Closer shot of Taft's father observing the parade. Taft junior was elected to the Senate in 1938 and we get a picture of the outside of his Washington home. He leaves his house with a farewell kiss from his wife and we then get an outside shot of the Senate House and the parked cars and cabs. We see him walking to his car and buying a newspaper from a young paperboy. Close-up shot of Taft in light- coloured trilby as he reads the paper's headlines. Close-up of front page of a newspaper, New York World, Telegram. Headlines show 'President Requests Billion For Defense'. Shot of Taft indoors talking to two colleagues.
Picture of American troops standing to attention for inspection by officers. Soldiers then march off down sandy track at their camp. He then speaks of the folly of defence spdending. Newspaper close-up of column titled 'Final Passage of Price Bill set For Today'. Taft is next shown sitting in a plush drawing room with a colleague, talking to another about price restrictions. Cut to pick-up truck outside a farmhouse, where men are operating a black market in meat. We see one acting as a butcher with a carcass. Close-up of the name plate on wall 'Office of Price Administration', then its administrator, Chester Bowle, speaking to a small group of women. Taft is then shown speaking about the bill he is introducing to wipe away price restrictions. Chairman of the Republican Steering Committee, we see the closed door of the Committee Room, then inside where Taft chairs a meeting sat at the head of a conference table. We see him in discussion with his committee about federal aid for education.
Next is an outdoor shot of schoolchildren entering a solitary school building. A closer shot of the children shows them barefoot and many of the boys wearing denim bibs and braces as they enter in two columns, boys and girls. Next is Taft with Democrat colleague talking about their all-party bill to be introduced into the Senate to provide aid for education in the poorer states. Close-up of front page of an act concerning housing. A shed-like home and van is shown on some ground and two shivering young girls sitting on the wooden fencing. Then there is a shot of a three- storey tenement building with lines of washing visible, followed by a small unkempt girl outside the rickety tenement fence.
Taft is then shown talking to Ohio's Junior Rpublican Senator, John Bricker, who disagrees with Taft's reforms. Newspaper haedline reads 'Labour Reform Bill Win'. A bill involving Taft that adoped his name, the Taft- Hartley Act, which became law over President Truman's veto. We see Taft walking in the Senate corridors carrying a file and entering the lift. Next we see demonstrations against the act with banners, placards, and strong Labour Union support. We see the demonstrators marching up and down outside the building. Taft is next shown speaking indoors on the microphone in support of his bill.
'1940' and Taft seeks the Republican Presidential nomination. We see a packed convention hall with many holding placards supporting Taft. He loses out to his opponent, Wendell Wilkie, and we see first a banner supporting him, then a cheering crowd, then Wilkie himself.
'1944'. At this Republican COnvention, we see the outside of the hall. Taft stands aside for Bricker to run for the nomination, and we see Taft inside the Convention Hall engaged in conversation. Taft serves as chairman of the Resolutions Committee and we see the entrance to the Committee Room. We see him inside orchestrating the Republican platform. '1948'. Shot of Taft outside his Washington home having served ten years in the Senate, seeking the Republican nomination. He shakes the hands of his supporters and he then poses for the camera.
He is next shown on the golf course, wearing a crumpled sun hat, open- neck shirt, and cardigan. As he watches the tee, we see a man and woman under an umbrella, probably his wife and son, before Taft himself tees off down the driveway. He holds his scorecard in his hand before pushing it into the back pocket of his trousers.

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