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The Monroe Doctrine (1939)

Approved | | Short, Drama, History | 14 October 1939 (USA)
The story of President Monroe's response to attempts by Spain to interfere in South America.


Crane Wilbur


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Grant Mitchell ... John Quincy Adams
Charles Waldron Charles Waldron ... President James Monroe
James Stephenson ... Senor De La Torre
Frank Wilcox ... Henry Clay
George Reeves ... John Sturgis
Nanette Fabray ... Rosita De La Torre (as Nanette Fabares)
Sidney Blackmer ... Theodore Roosevelt
Tom Chatterton ... John Randolph
Ted Osborne Ted Osborne ... John C. Calhoun
Emmett Vogan Emmett Vogan ... Daniel Webster
Howard Lang ... William Wirt
Edwin Stanley Edwin Stanley ... President James K. Polk
Erville Alderson ... William Seward
Millard Vincent ... President Millard Fillmore
Stuart Holmes ... Grover Cleveland
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This two-reel short tells the tale of the effects of the Monroe Document in a historical and historical-fictional manner, and its effects---fact and fictional---in North and South America...and Europe and,how through the years, various U.S. Presidents have upheld it in various ways. The ending has Theodore Roosevelt delivering a speech that probably left the viewing audiences, in various countries, talking about it in various languages. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Did You Know?


Film debut of Frank Wilcox. See more »


Senor De La Torre: What makes you so sure the United States would resort to war? people don't want it, and in a democracy people rule. So I've been told.
See more »


Edited into March On, America! (1942) See more »


Yankee Doodle Dandy
Composed by George M. Cohan (1904)
Integrated into background score
See more »

User Reviews

It's best foot forward
9 June 2018 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Seen today the Monroe Doctrine is a short subject that casts that piece of foreign policy issued in an address to Congress. The new republics of Latin America shook off the increasingly weakening rule of Spain when the country was preoccupied with its own survival during the Napoleonic wars. The powers in Europe not wanting any more of this revolution business wanted to see Spanish rule destroyed, a really mind boggling proposition when you think about it.

One power did not and that was Great Britain. They wanted to open up those new markets in South America to trade and as a sea power that was their living. They wanted to make it joint declaration.

President James Monroe and his Secretary of State and successor John Quincy Adams said thanks but no thanks. Nevertheless in 1823 we could make a bold declaration, but it was the British fleet at that time that gave it some teeth.

Charles Waldron plays Monroe and Grant Mitchell is Adams and we get to see Sidney Blackmer doing his patented Theodore Roosevelt imitation. I really was amused when the Venezuelan boundary dispute is cited and it only says "a foreign power" was trying to take over Venezuela in 1894. The unnamed power was Great Britain, but President Grover Cleveland decided to negotiate this one and cooler heads prevailed in Great Britain as well. No way was Hollywood going to put out anything bad about Great Britain in 1939.

The Monroe Doctrine has been also used to justify intervention in these Latin American republics, the latest being in 1965 when Lyndon Johnson went into the Dominican Republic which was of course after this film was made.

The film is certainly an attempt to give the rosiest possible interpretation of the use of this famous statement of foreign policy.

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Release Date:

14 October 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Technicolor Classics (1939-1940 season) #1: The Monroe Doctrine See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


(original) | (re-release) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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